Asbestos is highly toxic material and it was used abundantly in various industries in the past century. It was a series of diseases that led to the identification of the toxicity of Asbestos. The first wave of asbestos disease occurred in workers involved in the mining and milling of crude asbestos and in the manufacture of asbestos products. The second wave affected people like insulators, pipe-fitters, construction workers using asbestos products. The third wave is associated with exposure to asbestos to plumbers, electricians, carpenters and refurbishment workers.
Asbestos was widely used in ship building since it was recognized for its heat resistance, tensile strength and insulating properties.
India is the one of the six ship-breaking nations, along with China, Bangladesh, Turkey, Pakistan and Myanmar. India is known as the graveyard for dying ships. It is also fast becoming a graveyard for ship breaking workers. Most of the ships that reach India are full of toxic materials and most of the ship parts are woven with asbestos. The ship breaking workers are generally migrants and they dismantle the ships with their bare hands. Almost every third worker suffers from mesothelioma (a type of lung cancers that is caused due to exposure to asbestos). The ship breaking job is highly dangerous and full of many occupational hazards like suffocation, sudden explosion, unhealthy toxic air etc.
The awareness regarding asbestos hazards is the need of the hour for the ship breaking industries in India. EPSCO India is constantly working and trying to set standards and strict guidelines for asbestos abetment in ship breaking industry. We are bringing in experts to our country to educate and train people who work in proximity with this deadly mineral.
Suhel Parker – the CEO of EPSCO India, an Asbestos Supervisor and an expert along with Lilly Maritime, conducted free training for the ship recycling safety workers at Alang in Gujarat and paved a new way for their corporate social responsibility.
EPSCO India is setting standards and strict guidelines for asbestos abatement. They have already trained 95 candidates who work at ship yards as safety officers and supervisors in proximity with this deadly mineral.