One of the most upsetting things about asbestos exposure is that companies continue to be negligent with it comes to protecting others. We have used this blog to discuss the severe penalties for companies that violated asbestos regulations decades ago, which is why it is so discouraging to hear about an employer who continues to skirt the responsibility to keep workers safe.
Many of the cases we describe on this blog involve people who are just now getting sick from being exposed to asbestos as long as 50 years ago. But a troubling fact is that in another 50 years, there will continue to be victims who develop mesothelioma from exposure they are currently experiencing. Despite all the dangers that we know to be associated with asbestos exposure, employers continue to knowingly and cruelly allow their workers to come into contact with the toxic substance without protecting them.
Recently, seven companies were cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for a total of 46 violations after they reportedly exposed workers to asbestos. The companies were involved in the remodeling of apartments that contained asbestos. It is not uncommon for older buildings to have a significant level of asbestos present, as it used to be commonly used in plumbing, insulation and even roofing.
Because of this, companies are supposed to protect their workers from exposure to airborne asbestos when they are involved in remodeling, demolishing or construction on structures that likely contain asbestos.
In the recent report by OSHA, the seven contractors and subcontractors failed to provide their workers with protective clothing and respiratory equipment to keep them safe. Because of this negligence, the workers may have inhaled toxic levels of asbestos. In 10 or 50 years from now, some of these very same workers will have developed lung cancer or mesothelioma because of the current negligence.
Although OSHA issued a proposed penalty of nearly $150,000 for the violations, the true financial extent of the damage will not be known for years. At that time, victims may choose to file workers’ compensation claims or pursue damages from a third party. Unfortunately, by that time it will be too late to undo the damage that has already been done.
Source: My SA, “Contractors cited in asbestos violations,” Patrick Danner, Sept. 11, 2012
- People across the country are diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer far too often. For those suffering from negligence of a former (or current) employer similar to that described in this post, please visit our page that explains more about employer accountability.