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Protecting workers who remove asbestos

There are a number of accredited businesses in North Carolina who specialize in removing asbestos from a property. It is up to property owners to have asbestos properly removed by a legitimate, trained group of people to keep people safe. However, it is up to companies to make sure employees are properly trained in asbestos removal. If they are not, workers can be fatally exposed to asbestos and may have cause to file a worker's compensation case. In some areas around the country, additional steps are being taken to protect these workers.

People who are hired by asbestos-removal companies typically must take and pass a test on the dangers of working with asbestos. Making sure that people are aware of the risks means that they will be safer around asbestos. However, after one state started receiving complaints that test administrators were giving away answers, regulations are being tightened.

By ensuring that people would pass their tests by giving away answers, companies would welcome more workers. However, they would not be properly trained. In some cases, people would be allowed to pass the tests who could not speak English.

New laws have been proposed and passed, however, that prohibit companies from administering the tests themselves. Instead, a separate entity would be responsible for the testing. Without a financial incentive, as was the case when companies were directly involved, those who pass the tests will be the ones who have proven they are properly trained.

With properly trained asbestos-removal employees, there is a smaller chance that they or others will be exposed to asbestos. When a person is exposed to asbestos, they can develop fatal cancers such as mesothelioma. If this exposure happens on the job, a person may have the right to pursue financial damages from a negligent company.

Source: The Connection, "Tightening Asbestos Regulations," Michael Lee Pope, Feb. 9, 2012

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