The very concept of safe use is from Convention 162 of the ILO. This Convention recommends a strict framework for the use of chrysotile, but it does not include prohibitions other than for crocidolite and for loose, friable asbestos in fireproofing applications. This Convention remains the international legal instrument for the controlled-use of chrysotile asbestos approach.
We must stress, at this point, that Convention 162 provides for the substitution of chrysotile or materials that contain chrysotile by a substance that offers the same technical advantages but are harmless or less harmful. (ILO Code of Practice)
Countries are encouraged to ratify and implement ILO Convention 162 to ensure that chrysotile asbestos is used safely in their country. Countries that choose not to ratify this regulatory instrument officially should include the controlled-use approach in their national legislation for all activities involving exposure of workers and the general public to asbestos fibres.
The principles mentioned in the Convention cover all sectors where a risk of occupational exposure to asbestos exists. This includes extraction work and mineral processing, production, usage, application, removal, repair, maintenance or demolition of products that contain asbestos.
All high-density products containing chrysotile fibres (defined as products that cannot be dispersed, pulverized or reduced to powder under hand pressure when dry) should be allowed. For example, chrysotile-cement pipes and sheets, friction products, sealing joints and asphalt roof coatings.
The ILO Convention also makes provisions for the following sectors:
· Supply of appropriate work clothes that should not be worn outside the work place.
· Promotion and distribution of information and training of all interested parties regarding the risks to health with exposure to asbestos, as well as prevention and control methods.
· Use of a suitable label with pictograms and warnings that should be placed on bags containing asbestos fibres and on products containing asbestos to inform users that they should use appropriate equipment.
· Elimination of waste containing asbestos in a manner that does not present a health risk to workers or residents in the vicinity of the factory.
· Medical examinations to monitor worker health in relation to occupational hazards and to detect occupational diseases by exposure to asbestos.
· Application of government or independent provisions and sanctions if necessary.