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Asbestos-removal company defies court order to protect employees

The removal of asbestos from a building can be a costly and dangerous necessity. Buildings that are found to have asbestos can cause harm to those who live or work inside, so it must be removed responsibly. Many people will hire an asbestos-removal company to dispose of the toxic material. It was recently discovered, however, that an employer at one of these removal companies has knowingly exposed vulnerable employees to asbestos.

The contractor in question had been legally ordered in the past to provide a safer working environment for his employees. The man was using kids as young as 14-years-old to go into contaminated environments without protection.

He was issued a restraining order to keep him from using these "vulnerable" people to remove asbestos from demolished houses. He defied the court orders to provide a safe work environment and continued to put his employees in danger.

The contractor is located in Canada, where asbestos was the leading cause of death among workers in 2009. About 44 percent of workplace deaths were from asbestos-related diseases. The fact that this man continued to put his workers at risk for lethal exposure to asbestos is not only irresponsible, but it is illegal. The man was arrested for ignoring the court's orders and may be sentenced to a year in jail.

Sadly, because diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma can lay dormant for up to 40 years, the immediate effects of this man's negligence are unknown. Exposure to asbestos can cause devastating damage. People who have developed cancer or other lung diseases as a result of their exposure to asbestos may be able to file a workers' compensation lawsuit against a former employer.

Source: The Vancouver Sun, "Asbestos contractor faces jail," Dec. 5, 2011

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