It can be very frustrating and stressful to get injured or sick at work. Not only can it affect a person’s ability to continue working, but certain conditions can end up taking a horrific toll on a person’s health. In many cases, it is possible for people in this situation to apply for workers’ compensation benefits in order to cover the costs of lost wages or medical bills.
But for workers who learn that an employer could have prevented the injury or illness from ever happening, feelings of frustration can quickly turn into anger. Victims of asbestos exposure often understand this better than many other people.
Workers at a company called the Union Asbestos & Rubber Co. are among the thousands of people who were exposed to asbestos on the job. Not only were they required to work with asbestos without protection, but workers have stated that employers at UNARCO were well aware of the dangers and did nothing to protect workers. In fact, the company periodically had employees undergo a chest X-ray without informing them of why the X-rays were being done. But if lung spots were detected on an X-ray, the employers reportedly found a reason to fire the worker.
One former grinder at the plant developed asbestosis after being exposed to asbestos. As tragic as this is, he also lost his brother and his father to asbestos-related diseases. All three men worked at the plant.
Lawsuits have been filed and won by workers who got sick from the asbestos exposure, but victims wanted to do more to show how reckless the company was and how dangerous asbestos exposure truly is.
A museum exhibit is being developed in the area that will provide visitors with information about the plant and the lawsuits that have since been filed. The exhibit will educate visitors on the history of asbestos, the dangers associated with it, a list of products that often contain the deadly fiber and information on how asbestos should be properly removed.
The exhibit will also feature an extensive memorial to the victims of asbestos-related diseases developed at the plant. More than 100 victims have been identified, though it is believed there are hundreds more.
Source: Pantagraph, “Exhibit looks at history of asbestos in McLean County,” Mary Ann Ford, May 17, 2013