For nearly as long as the dangers of asbestos have been known, employers have willfully and knowingly failed to protect employees who work with the toxic fiber. Diseases such as mesothelioma have been directly linked to asbestos. And in many states, claims of mesothelioma are automatically classified as a workplace illness, which generally means that a worker qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits.
Despite the fact that decades have passed since people have learned about the risks of asbestos, employers are still trying to get away with not protecting their employees who work with or around the fiber. Rather than take the necessary preventative and protective steps to keep people safe, negligent managers and employers continue to cut corners and costs, often at the expensive of innocent lives.
Recently, for example, building managers denied that workers on a site were exposed to asbestos after water damage caused asbestos-containing ceiling materials to fall. There are reportedly 230 people who work in the building and safety inspectors believe that they have been exposed to asbestos. The managers, however, claim that the asbestos was never airborne and therefore posed no threat to anyone in the area.
But sources indicate that there were fans and central air conditioning systems running all day when the tiles fell, which could easily have spread asbestos dust and fibers. There are also claims that janitorial staff members were tasked with cleaning up the asbestos debris without the proper protective equipment.
The unfortunate reality of some companies is that they will do anything they can to cut costs and save money. When it comes to asbestos, they may deny knowing about the presence of the fiber or hire non-certified companies to remove asbestos-containing materials which can end up exacerbating the situation. Too many people are put in danger on the job because of exposure to asbestos, and those who are have the right to pursue compensation from a negligent or reckless party.
Source: The Sacramento Bee, “The Public Eve: Possible asbestos exposure of Sacramento County workers alleged,” Brad Branan, April 21, 2013