Auto mechanics are exposed to a variety of hazards in the repair shop. The most common auto shop accidents range from slips and falls. To cuts and bruises from mishandling tools, but there are also many unexpected health and safety exposures as well. One such hazard is asbestos. While asbestos is a commonly known threat for the construction industry, where it can be found in old building materials, it is less frequently thought of as an everyday hazard in the auto shop.
Asbestos is a common material used in many auto parts including brakes, clutches and heat seals, due to its naturally heat-resistant qualities. The danger to mechanics comes from handling, cleaning and repairing these components. As these parts start to break apart or disintegrate, the asbestos escapes into the air where is can be inhaled, or settle onto the clothes of an auto mechanics. Because auto repair shops also are notorious for poor indoor air quality and circulation, the combination of inadequate air flow and free-floating asbestos particles makes this occupation especially dangerous.
Asbestos has long been a popular component in vehicular brakes because of its heat resistance and strength; some brakes contain 30 to 80 percent of the mineral compound. According to The Mesothelioma Center, some 900,000 American automobile mechanics have been exposed to asbestos dust from brake and clutch work. The use of asbestos for brake linings has yet to be fully abandoned, despite the known health risks.
The health risks associated with asbestos expose range from respiratory complications to an increased risk of cancer. Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause permanent damage to the lungs and other organs. Approximately 2,000 to 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, and roughly the same amount die from asbestos-related lung cancer. An estimated 200,000 people in the United States are currently living with illnesses linked to asbestos exposure.
Asbestos exposure is a huge concern for Orlando auto shops if the proper safety precautions are not taken. Shop owners could find themselves faced with increased employee illness and injury, which business owners could be held liable for. Having a comprehensive workers comp policy is essential to any business, especially high-risk environments like auto shops.
At Newman Crane, our Orlando auto shop insurance specialists can provide you with customized risk management solutions to keep you and your workers safe. We offer the Orlando Worker’s Comp coverage as one of our many business insurance solutions for Orlando auto shops. Give our Orlando auto shop insurance specialists a call today at (407) 859-3691 learn more about all of our offerings.