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Building owners improperly disposed of asbestos to save $14,000

Every day, there are many business decisions that are made in efforts to save money. Business owners want to cut costs and pull in as much profit as they can. Often times, these decisions have more to do with how a business is run, but sometimes they can have a clear and dangerous effect on workers.

Recently, for example, a company made a decision which put many people at risk of asbestos exposure. Sources indicate that the decision was made simply to save money.

Asbestos should be removed by certified removal companies because there are strict guidelines for removing and disposing asbestos so that it is not released into the air and breathed in by anyone. In this case, the company had, in fact, hired an asbestos removal company to come and remove asbestos that was found in the roof, flooring and in floor tiles.

However, the removal firm reported that after they had been paid $24,000 for work they completed on the roof, the returned to find the rest of the work completed. The property owners had gone in and had the asbestos in the flooring and floor tiles removed by an unauthorized party and demolished the rest of the building. All told, they saved about $14,000 by not having the certified removal company complete the job. But they were fined $25,000 for their negligence.

However, the long-term consequences of their negligence may not be realized for many years. The people who ended up removing the asbestos could certainly have suffered from toxic levels of exposure. But because asbestos-related illnesses can take decades to develop, the true extent of their negligence is unknown.

Money-saving strategies should not come at the expense of workers. People have the right to expect that they will show up to work and not have to worry if they will be exposed to hazardous conditions just because an employer or building owner has cut a few corners. Sadly, many victims of asbestos exposure are the ones who pay the price for these decisions.

Source: omaha.com, "Nebraska firm fined $25,000 for illegal disposal of asbestos," June 11, 2013

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