Working Safely with Asbestos In Clutch And Brake Linings
Protect Yourself With Safe Work Practices
Here are some things you can do right away to protect yourself and your family from asbestos exposure:
Your Employer's Responsibilities
Under federal and state regulations (Chapter 296-62 of the Washington Administrative Code), employers must ensure that workers are protected from harmful asbestos exposure. These regulations give employers several options for controlling the release of asbestos dust from brake and clutch service. There are two preferred control methods:
· Negative pressure enclosure or HEPA vacuum system - a tightly sealed box
with sleeves and ports allows mechanics to see and handle brake and clutch parts. A HEPA vacuum system collects the dust in the very fine HEPA filter for disposal.
Work with your employer to
ensure that you are not overexposed to asbestos in your workplace. Sometimes this may include special ventilation equipment or the use of a properly-fitted respirator with a HEPA filter. Simple face masks do not filter out asbestos fibers!
· Low pressure wet method - a container is placed under the brake or clutch assembly
to capture liquids. The assembly is gently flooded with a water-based solution containing either a detergent/surfactant or organic solvent. The wet method for shops handling five or fewer brakes or clutches per week is a simpler approved procedure. Using a low-pressure fine mist (from a spray bottle for example), the brake or clutch assembly is thoroughly wetted and wiped with a cloth. Employers can use other methods as long as they provide equivalent protection.
Never use an air hose, dry brush,
rag or ordinary shop-vac - they all stirup asbestos dust. Wet cleaning and vacuuming with a HEPA-system are much safer.
Your Rights as a Worker
Your employer is responsible for providing you with the following:
Minimize dust levels by slowly
lathe-turning the brake linings, rather than grinding. Talk to your employer about installing exhaust ventilation with a HEPA filter wherever asbestoscontaining material is machined.
A safe and healthful workplace. Your employer is required to comply with standards established to prevent harmful exposure to asbestos. Your employer must provide protective equipment at no cost to employees; Upon request, a copy of air monitoring results or other objective information used to assess
exposure (such as manufacturers' equipment specifications or information on the asbestos content of the materials you're working with);
When using a wet brush, thoroughly wet the wheel hub and back of the assembly first. After removing the drum, wash all components with the brush. If using a spray, keep the nozzle far enough away from the surface to keep fibers from splashing back at you in the liquid.
A copy of the asbestos standard (upon request); Training. Your employer is required to train you how to work with asbestos safely; Medical monitoring. Your employer must provide a medical examination for any worker exposed above the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) of 0.1 fibers/cc averaged over an 8-hour workshift.
You have the right to file a confidential complaint with the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) if you believe there may be a serious hazard. You also have the right to file a complaint if you believe you are being discriminated against for exercising one of yourrights under the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA). It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a worker for bringing up safety or health concerns or for filing a complaint with L & I. You may call 1-800-4BESAFE (1-800-423-7233) or the nearest L&I office for assistance.
If you must hammer drums, place a pan with water beneath the wheel to catch the dust. Avoid stirring up asbestos while
using air tools to loosen lug nuts or remove tires.
Don't smoke while working with clutches and brakes. Wash your hands and face before
you eat, drink or smoke. Never use the same rags used to clean brakes.
Help with Waste Management
Solid Waste. Try to recycle brake shoes and
clutch discs containing asbestos through the vendors that sell them. In some counties, intact brake shoes and clutch discs can be put in the dumpster. Call your local solid waste utility for more information about disposal.
Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County.
This program provides assistance to King County businesses that generate small quantities of hazardous waste (less than 220 lbs. per month or batch). Services include the Business Waste Line at 206-2963976, a Voucher Incentive Program offering cash reimbursements to qualified businesses (call 206-263-3090), and onsite technical assistance (call 206-263-3090).
Eat, drink, and smoke only in
areas free of asbestos dust.
Use separate work clothes and shoes/boots while at work. Disposable coveralls are the best choice! Keep your street clothes in a clean
Sludges. Filters and dusts should be wetted
and placed in impermeable bags or containers. Contact your local solid waste utility for more information.
Don't wear your work clothes and
shoes/boots home. Talk to your employer about laundering your clothes at work. (Avoid taking asbestos-contaminated materials home, where the fibers can harm your family!)
Liquid Wastes. Liquid wastes containing
asbestos dust are best managed as oily wastewater or hazardous waste. Contact your local sewer utility or refer to the phone book yellow pages under "Waste Disposal - Hazardous" for a vendor to dispose of these liquid wastes. To avoid dangerous situations or additional disposal fees, do not use flammable or chlorinated solvents near brake washers.
If possible, shower at work before going home.
This Man may be Exposing Himself and His Family to Asbestos
Why Should I Care About Asbestos?
See a doctor if you are concerned about asbestos exposure. It is important for your doctor to know about your asbestos exposure even if you don't have any symptoms. An occupational physician is trained to recognize diseases associated with work and may be able to diagnose an asbestos-related disease more readily than a doctor not trained in occupational illnesses.
Do the Brake and Clutch Linings I Work with Contain Asbestos?
Asbestos is released into the air when brakes and clutches are serviced. You cannot see these fibers in the air. Dust masks will not prevent you from inhaling them. These fibers can then travel through your respiratory system and become permanently lodged in your lungs. Asbestos fibers are chemically resistant and the body cannot break down and expel them as with other particles. Medical studies have shown a direct correlation between asbestos exposure and increased risk of several deadly lung diseases. Enough asbestos is present in brake drum dust to be of concern during certain brake and clutch servicing procedures.
What Asbestos Can Do to You.
The following lung diseases have been seen in workers exposed to asbestos. They generally develop years after exposure: · Lung cancer - the most common cause of death associated with asbestos exposure. A smoker who works with asbestos is 10 times more likely to die from lung cancer than a non-smoker who works with asbestos. · Mesothelioma - a deadly cancer that is 100% fatal. This disease damages the lining of the chest and abdominal cavities.
You often have no way of knowing. Product information on labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) will often have information on asbestos content when it is greater than 1% of a material. However, when servicing installed brakes and clutches, the appropriate labels and MSDS will not be available. When handling these products, you should assume that they contain asbestos unless the manufacturer or an appropriate testing laboratory has certified that the material is asbestos-free.
Do I have an Asbestos-Related Disease?
Unfortunately, workers who have been exposed to asbestos for years often feel fine. Usually, symptoms take between 15 and 30 years to develop. The most common test used to determine if you have been exposed to asbestos is a chest x-ray. The x-ray cannot detect the asbestos fibers themselves, but can detect early signs of lung disease caused by asbestos.
· Asbestosis - When microscopic asbestos fibers are caught in lung tissue, they cause scars. When this scarring spreads, the lungs cannot expand and contract as easily as they should. The victim finds it harder and harder to breathe. Other symptoms include coughing and chest pain. The condition is permanent and can progress to disability and death.
Take the Time To be Asbestos Safe . . . Follow the Safety Procedures Inside.
· Automatic transmission components, · Clutch facings, · Disc brake pads, · Drum brake linings, · Brake blocks, and
Although many uses of asbestos have been banned under Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations, some materials remain legal for sale and use. The materials that were not banned included those in which asbestos fibers are generally well bound in the material, including:
Why is Asbestos Still Used in Brake and Clutch Linings?
Asbestos is the common name for a group of mineral fibers that range in color from white, green, brown, or blue. These fibers vary in length and may be straight or curled. You cannot smell or taste asbestos fibers. Because they are resistant to pressure, heat, and most chemicals, asbestos fibers have been mined for use in a wide range of man-made products, including several materials used in automotive repair.
What is Asbestos?
This pamphlet was prepared by the Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (SHARP) program at the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. SHARP performs research and analysis of workplace health and safety issues. Call 1-888-667-4277 or 360-902-5669. Visit SHARP's website at www.Lni.wa.gov/sharp.
Several firms lease, service and/or sell equipment that meets WISHA requirements for asbestos. Encourage your employer to talk to several vendors, and compare them on such items as services provided, warrantees, replacement fluids, hazardous material, and waste disposal.
Equipment and Service Providers
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a web site dedicated to asbestos issues (www.epa.gov/asbestos/index.htm). For more information, call (206) 553-1200 or 1-800-424-4EPA.
The Environmental Protection Agency
The WISHA Services Division of L&I enforces the asbestos standard. This standard contains rules for employers on using asbestos safely and protecting workers from the harmful effects of asbestos. WISHA offers free assistance and information to both employers and employees upon request. WISHA also investigates complaints from workers who feel they are being overexposed to asbestos or other chemicals. For more information call, 1-800-4BESAFE (1-800-423-7233) or visit WISHA's web site at www.lni.wa.gov/wisha.
L&I's WISHA Services
Find out if your work area has been checked for asbestos dust or and find out how you can avoid exposure by using protective equipment and engineering controls.
Your Safety Officer or Industrial Hygienist
The review and comments of Labor & Industries staff are also gratefully acknowledged. The contribution of Cynthia Balogh, Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County, is gratefully acknowledged.
Read This It May Save Your Life
Working Safely with Asbestos In Clutch And Brake Linings