Shipyard Workers Get New Safety Standards for Protection from Mesothelioma-Causing Asbestos
The U.S. Navy, as well as the commercial maritime industry, made extensive use of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials in the construction and renovation of its ships. Shipbuilders and workers who tear apart old ships for repair or refurbishment are often in danger of inhaling asbestos fibers, a known carcinogen proven to cause mesothelioma. Now, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has released two new specifications that minimize the environmental problems and the danger to workers tasked with dismantling the vessels.
Mesothelioma is a serious cancer caused by breathing in asbestos fibers that then become lodged in the thin membrane that lines and encases the lungs. Often called “asbestos cancer,” mesothelioma is highly aggressive and is resistant to many standard cancer treatments. Currently there is no known cure for mesothelioma, and the average survival time varies from 4 – 18 months after diagnosis.
One of the new ISO documents, ISO/PAS 30007:2010,”measures to prevent asbestos emission and exposure during ship recycling,” provides effective methods for minimizing the dangers of asbestos during ship recycling by reducing both the release of asbestos into the environment and worker exposure to asbestos.
The other specification (PAS), 30006:2010, addresses and provides diagrams to show the location of hazardous materials on vessels.
Mr. Yoshida, the chairman of ISO/TC 8/SC2, Marine Environment Protection, said these new standards will ensure that when ships are being recycled they “do not pose any unnecessary risk to human health and safety or to the environment.” He added that both of the specifications “answer market expectations related to environment, safety, health and welfare matters in the ship recycling industry.”
ISO Ship Specifications