What are brake linings?
They are friction material that helps control the movement of a vehicle. The brakes use friction to pass on force to a vehicle’s moving part, generally the wheels, to stop or slow it totally. Amid the components of a braking system, there are brake pads or brake shoes. They consist of a brake lining connected to a metal backing.
If the brake is engaged, the shoe or pad is pressed against a drum or metal disc connected to the wheel making it slow or stop. The wheel forward motion is then converted into heat, imposing the brake linings to a high temperature. Due to this, brake linings have usually been made with asbestos.
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Who Deals with Brake Linings?
Commonly, they are automotive mechanics. They remove and replace worn out linings or reform linings every day. A lot of car owners, particularly of vintage or older cars, might do this kind of work by themselves and may ask a friend or the member of the family to help them.
The worker of assembly-line may put brakes on new vehicles. The manufacturers of auto parts may construct new brakes or replace the old pads and shoes with the new ones. The heavy machinery operators who perform their own maintenance may also change old linings. The operators of junkyard may also deal with friction materials.
Where Can You Find Brake Linings?
They can be found in almost motor vehicles such as cars, motorcycle or trains, they all have brakes. Usually, the brakes are more than one set. The brake linings that contain asbestos are usually found in passenger cars, heavy- and light-duty trucks, buses, motorcycles, and also heavy machineries like tractors, cranes and locomotives.
Nearly all passenger vehicles have disc brakes located on the front wheels, and drum brakes are on the rear wheels. Each set of brakes needs linings. Bigger vehicles like buses and trucks need heavy-duty brake linings. Several heavy types of machinery might have some many sets of brakes.
For instance, a crane might have brakes on the crawlers or wheels that move it forward, brakes used to control the cab rotation, and brakes for controlling the arm, or boom, of the crane.
How Does the Asbestos-Containing Brake Lining Exposure Happen?
When brakes come into operation, they are likely to experience high temperatures when the motion of the wheels is transformed into heat energy. They too experience some progressive wear from coming into contact with the moving metal parts. So as to brakes to work properly, the brake linings have to be changed or renewed from time to time.
Auto mechanics might be exposed to asbestos particles in different ways. In a common brake repair job, cumulated brake particles have to be got rid of before the old pads or shoes are discarded. The work is frequently performed with a small brush or a blast of compressed air. Both methods can cause asbestos dust to become airborne.
When the old brake linings are still sufficiently thick to be effective, the mechanic might use a bench grinder to repair the surface or deglaze the linings of dirt and oil. When fixing new brake pads or shoes, the auto mechanic might grind the surface in order to speed up the process of breaking in, bevel the edges using a grinding wheel to diminish noise and punch or drill holes for rivets. Several manufacturers also suggested scoring the centre of the pad using a hacksaw. Any of these works can release asbestos fibres.
Diseases Related to Asbestos Exposure
Workers having handled friction materials containing asbestos and other workers or supervisory personnel who work in the general vicinity are subjected to inhale airborne asbestos fibres at the workplace, causing them at serious risk of developing these diseases including:
- Asbestos cancer
- Pleural mesothelioma
- Pericardial mesothelioma
- Peritoneal mesothelioma
Also, worker commonly brought their working outfit home to be washed, bringing asbestos fibres home that was also causing their family members, especially women at risk for being infected by those diseases above.