An insulator is the term for an individual that works in the repair and/or installation of materials relating to insulation. Insulation is used in varying places such as boilers, ducts, HVAC systems, generators, as well as walls. There are numerous materials that are used in insulation such as polyurethane, cork, as well as fiberglass. Insulators, sadly, are often exposed to asbestos due to the materials that they are responsible for using.
Materials that contain asbestos are likely to release both dust and fibers when they are disturbed. They can then be inhaled, leading to numerous health conditions such as asbestosis as well as numerous forms of cancer such as gastrointestinal, pharyngeal, laryngeal, lung, esophageal, and mesothelioma.
Individuals who have worked as insulators are likely to develop conditions relating to asbestos exposure as building materials are likely to contain the dangerous material. Asbestos was commonly used in insulation as it was highly resistant to heat, chemical, and electrical damage. The mineral is also known for its ability to absorb sound and for its impressive strength.
Insulation that contained asbestos was produced in numerous forms such as foam, paint, fibers, and sheets. The insulation was also relatively easy to use as it could be applied in numerous ways such as though sprays, paints, through pouring as well as nailing. These insulation application techniques were easily able to disturb the asbestos, leading to potential inhalation and asbestos-related health conditions.
Today's workers in the field of construction, including insulators, are still liable to face asbestos-related risks. Approximately 1.3 million individuals who have worked in construction are still exposed to asbestos on an annual basis. Because of this, it is essential that installers of insulation remain constantly aware of the possibility that they could have been exposed to asbestos, particularly in buildings that were built before the year 1980. Regardless of the restrictions that the U.S. imposed on the use of asbestos during the 70s, the mineral has not been completely annihilated.
It is all too common for insulators to be ignorant of the proper procedures for handling building materials that contain asbestos and are often not provided with necessary safety equipment. Basic precautions should be taken such as wearing safety masks and ventilators in order to avoid the inhalation of asbestos dust. Insulators should also make sure that they are thoroughly educated when it comes to identifying asbestos-containing products.