This blog has written about asbestos contractors who face fines and prison sentences for failing to follow proper procedures in removing asbestos and in protecting their workers. A recent federal court trial in Detroit reveals a new variant: asbestos removal contractors who hire persons living in homeless shelters, undocumented immigrants or other vulnerable persons to remove asbestos-containing products from buildings undergoing renovation. The newspaper report of the trial stated that similar examples have been discovered across the country, and North Carolina residents are therefore potentially at risk for such exploitation.
The trial in question involved a contractor who recruited workers from a homeless shelter. The contractor paid the workers cash to remove asbestos but did not provide training, protective gear, water to wet down crumbling asbestos or property disposal bags. In one building, workers said that asbestos rained down as thick as snow. Some of the workers were dressed in shorts, tee shirts and flip-flops, and none was wearing any sort of protective clothing.