It should not be a huge surprise to property owners that they are responsible for maintaining a safe and hazard-free space. Property owners in North Carolina and elsewhere can garner civil penalties in a premises liability lawsuit if hazards on their property harm another person.
Asbestos is one major hazard that has sparked countless premises liability lawsuits throughout the country. This incredibly dangerous substance, once commonly used in many home appliances and building materials, is supposed to be properly removed from any buildings or areas where people live or work because it can cause serious health dangers.
Recently, a properties company outside of North Carolina was penalized for violating their state’s asbestos regulations. The company was renovating a rental home and was not handling asbestos products in a safe manner, putting the health of everyone in the general area at risk.
The Department of Environmental Protection for the state fined the company $28,372.50 after it discovered that the company allowed renovators to improperly remove floor tiles that contained the dangerous substance and put them in a dumpster rather than safely dispose of them. When asbestos is not taken care of correctly, the fibers can get in the air and cause a number of serious illnesses to anyone who breathes them in.
The state’s regulations on handling asbestos are stringent, and the company was cited for failing to comply with many of them. In addition to failing to notify the DEP of the demolition, the company did not remove, handle, package, label or store the asbestos correctly.
The director of the DEP stressed that building owners who are undergoing a renovation must be aware of their responsibilities when handling asbestos. Neglecting to take this duty seriously puts others in the area and on the premises in danger of unknowingly ingesting the toxic, cancer-causing fibers.
Source: Milford Patch, “Milford Property Owner Fined for Asbestos Violation,” Nov. 8, 2012