Directorate General Factory Advice Service & Labour Institutes, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Govt of India
Director General Factory Advice Service and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI), Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India carried out a “National Study on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Environment in Asbestos Cement Product Industries” to find out the status of safety, health and hygiene and detect the cases of asbestosis and asbestos related disorder. The study was conducted from November, 2018 to February, 2019 covering 50 functional asbestos cement product industries of the country. It was subsequently followed up by an interventional study from June to August, 2019 to further investigate the suspected cases of asbestos related disorders, detected during the study based on the reports of the X-ray chest PA view. During the Intervention Study, non-invasive High Resolution CT (HRCT) Scan was carried out amongst the suspected cases to take up for further investigation.
A total number of 2603 out of 3791 workers including permanent and contract asbestos fibre exposed workers in 50 Asbestos Cement Product Industries were subjected to medical examination and investigation. Ten (10) cases were concluded as suspected cases of Asbestosis/Asbestos related disorders with abnormal X-ray findings. 531 asbestos fibre exposed workers were found to have PFT abnormalities but PFT is a non-specific diagnostic test for asbestos related disorders. HRCT of the suspected cases of asbestosis/asbestos related disorders was carried out during intervention study. Out of which 4 workers are identified as having asbestos related disorder subject to further investigation. HRCT of one suspected case was not available thus could not be investigated.
A total number of 145 samples of airborne asbestos dust were collected from 50 Asbestos Cement Product Industries during the National Study.
Existing engineering and administrative control system were reviewed in these with particular focus on type of dust collection system/ equipments, use of wet method/water spray, ventilation system, house- keeping, waste disposal and supply of PPE`s (Respiratory).
Based on the findings of the study several recommendations are given in the report to protect the workers from asbestosis/ asbestos related disorders and improve health, hygiene and safety status in asbestos cement products industries.
The National Study in Asbestos Cement Industries was carried out with the following objectives:
- To identify and evaluate morbidity as a result of asbestos fibre exposure among the workers by suitable medical examination & investigations.
- To diagnose the disease / disorders caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres including radiological and pulmonary abnormalities.
- To suggest suitable measures to control morbidity among the workers exposed to asbestos fibres.
- To assess the levels of airborne concentration of asbestos fibres in work environment in different Asbestos Cement Product Industries with a view to determine the status of workplace environment determine the status of workplace environment with regard to safety and health measures.
- To survey the existing safety control measures adopted by the industry for prevention and control of ‘Asbestosis/asbestos related disorder’.
- To suggest suitable preventive and control measures where necessary to improve the safety, health and workplace environment in Asbestos Cement Product Industry.
Asbestos cement product industries should maintain sound system for controlling the airborne asbestos to protect the workmen from asbestosis and asbestos related disorders. The periodical medical surveillance and work place monitoring, use of PPE at the time of work and awareness programmes for handling and use of asbestos etc should be ensured by the management for ensuring safety & health in the plant.