Governments in the U.S. and other countries have created several regulatory organizations to help protect the health safety of workers who may encounter exposure to asbestos based on their occupational conditions.
Companies understand that asbestos fibers can effortlessly become airborne during normal maintenance of machinery, construction, demolition, and repair work. If workers breathe in these fibers, then many different respiratory illnesses may result, including mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Asbestos Regulatory Organizations in the United States
The four major regulatory organizations that assist asbestos victims are the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). One goal of these organizations is to protect workers from hazardous asbestos exposure at the workplace and to hold industries accountable for their role in safety management.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was established to protect workers at their places of employment. Promoting safer working conditions for all and preventing serious injury or death is the ultimate goal of OSHA.
For over the last 40 years, OSHA has fought hard to eliminate asbestos in the workplace. Currently, one of the leading OHA violations involves respiratory protection. Companies are cited for not providing protection from dangerous levels of dust, gases, and asbestos fibers. Based on OSHA’s strict guidelines and standards in response to asbestos exposure, over 5 million workers are now required to wear respiratory protection. If a company fails to provide the needed safety standards, then OSHA will impose fines.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
NIOSH was created in 1970 to make sure that information and education regarding workplace safety was considered a top priority in the United States. This organization, which is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services, provides scientific- and medical-based information designed to protect the public from asbestos dangers. NIOSH’s many studies and health evaluations are conducted so that the information and publications are accurate and assist in maintaining the well-being of all American workers.
Every year, NIOSH reports that nearly 50,000 work-related deaths occur. To help prevent asbestos exposure as contributing to any illness or death, NIOSH maintains a large amount of asbestos safety information on its website.
World Health Organization (WHO)
WHO is responsible for setting safety and health standards for workers and workplaces worldwide. Created in 1948 in Switzerland, WHO assists governments in creating policy and standards that protect workers from toxic pollutants such as asbestos. Even with all the work WHO has done in regards to asbestos, this organization reports that over a 100,000 workers exposed to asbestos at the workplace yearly will die. WHO has furthered made it its mission to work with international governments to find solutions that will totally eliminate asbestos-related disease altogether.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The government organization in the U.S. responsible for crafting and enforcing regulations that deal with problems such as asbestos exposure is called the EPA. The EPA was created in 1970 by Congress to deal with research, education, and assessment of safety workplace standards. Its mission is to protect human health and also the environment. The EPA is able to enforce its regulation standards by using a variety of measures to make sure environmental laws are followed, including laws regarding exposure to asbestos.