A Life-long Job: A Veteran of Uralasbest Celebrated Her 90th Birthday

MOSCOW, Dec. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The chrysotile industry in Russia is 300 years old, and dates back to the time of Peter the Great. Obviously, now there are no witnesses to the industry’s first steps in the XVIII century, but those who participated in the events of the 1960s, when the active construction of the production lines of the Uralasbest mining complex began, are still with us. On November 29, 2019, employees of the Railway Transport Directorate of the complex congratulated labour veteran Minnekhasiba Gilvanova on her 90th birthday.

For Uralasbest, Ms Gilvanova’s story is the rule rather than the exception. In 2018, the plant published the book «80+. A Generation of Winners», which talks about the oldest veterans of the chrysotile industry, who worked for the benefit of future generations. For example, Viktor Stepanov worked at the complex for 25 years. Like many of his colleagues, he is a member of the Uralasbest Veterans’ Council, whose members are more than 6,000 retired employees of the complex. More than 300 of them helped defend their Motherland from Fascism by fighting during the Great Patriotic War or as home front workers, and 124 veterans are older than 90.

It’s no secret that people these days like to talk about the harm caused by asbestos, without distinguishing between the amphibole group and chrysotile. But there is a key difference: chrysotile when safe controlled use rule applied is safe, and the best proof of this is the life and health of the industry’s veterans. The retirees participate in demonstrations, are an example for young people, and actively participate in the life of their hometown and of the plant where they used to work. They know that, when handling chrysotile, compliance with labour discipline, a correct organisation of workplace safety, and measures aimed at protecting employee health create a safe work environment, in both the XX and the XXI centuries. Upon compliance with the production technology, chrysotile is safe for consumers as well.

This is why veterans of the chrysotile industry defend the complex and the domestic industry as a whole: they built it with their own hands, and know more than anyone else about it. After all, their lives are one of the most convincing arguments in favour of using asbestos: it gave them a meaningful job, a dignified old age and respect.

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