Industrial Engineers and Asbestos Exposure
Industrial engineers are at risk of asbestos exposure any time they work in an environment where asbestos is present. When asbestos is disturbed, microscopic fibers become airborne and can be accidentally inhaled by anyone who is nearby.
Many of the industries that hire industrial engineers worked with high volumes of asbestos, particularly between World War II and the early 1980s. Though asbestos is recognized as a dangerous substance now, that wasn’t always the case.
Many industries are now notorious for repeatedly exposing their workers to asbestos, including:
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Approximately 70% of industrial engineers work in the manufacturing industry, spending their time both in offices and boardrooms, as well as on the manufacturing floor. The manufacturing industry is heavily linked to asbestos exposure, with many employees developing diseases later in life.
While the vast majority of these industries phased out asbestos once the medical dangers became known, it was too late for the tens of thousands of Americans who have died as a result of asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos can still be present in older buildings and machinery, putting workers at risk even do this day.
To further complicate matters, asbestos isn’t always easy to identify. Asbestos was a common ingredient in other materials, including cement, textiles, and sealants, making it difficult to find.
Workers can repeatedly be exposed to asbestos throughout their career without even realizing that they are working with it.
Because asbestos was used so heavily within manufacturing environments where industrial engineers often worked, many industrial engineers have been exposed to asbestos through their day-to-day work.
Even today, with the hazards well recognized, industrial engineers are still at risk of asbestos exposure.