I'm employed again. Unfortunately upon returning to the same work site that I left, I find that they have begun asbestos abatement in the ceilings that I just spent a few weeks crawling in. Woo Hoo! Mesothelioma here I come! You know when the janitors vacuum the hallways in this school, you can literally see the haze of minute dust particles kicked up by their vacuums as they fail to collect anything but the largest particles of debris. Thank you Utah for spending so little on education; although I'm not sure lung cancer is going to have quite the disciplinary effect on your children that you seem to hope for.
I went and bought my self a P100 respirator, picked up a few books from the library on asbestos; and ordered a few asbestos testing kits. I'm not sure what I should do going forward. But I'm emotionally conflicted; my employer cares about me, and my coworkers. But sometimes makes really strange decisions:
On a previous job we were told some concealed areas had asbestos in them, and we were told to stay out of those areas. Also among the job site prints, plans, and spec sheets was a three ring binder full of information on the asbestos found in the building. I was reading it and came across a section saying that any maintenance worker employed to work on the building had to go through a asbestos training program. I asked one of the company owners about this, and he said that he would look in to it. The next day I found the binder gone, and I never got a response from my boss concerning the training.
Another example (I blogged about this before...) I was working on a job running electrical conduit from 10 and 12 foot ladders. I was approached by the general contractor who told me I needed to be wearing a harness. He and I called over one of the owners of the electrical company I work for. I was told to wear a harness and use a lanyard to tie off to a structural girder. I explained that I wouldn't mind doing that except that none of the fall protection gear that we had would stop a fall from such a small height. The strap around the girder would add a foot or two, the lanyard is six feet long, and stretches to twelve, and attaches to the harness at the top of my back. I'd have to fall from a height where my feet were about 15 to 20 feet off the ground for this setup to catch me. I asked my boss to buy a yo-yo (a piece of safety equipment). He and the general contractor told me to continue installing conduit without the safety equipment; they refused to deal with an employee who actually wanted safety equipment that would function.
This time no one even told us that there was asbestos in the ceilings. I still don't know what's up there or weather it friable. Naturally I'm scared for my health; maybe if I know more about it I wouldn't be. Hopefully I can find out some stuff soon.