Living or working in a building that you do not own has a fair share of perks. You don’t have to worry about code violations, cleaning up spills on the site, fixing broken equipment or dealing with complaints from tenants. However, there are a fair number of building owners who do not take these and other ownership responsibilities seriously and their negligence can end up seriously hurting those inside the building.
One of the most hazardous things that a building or property owner can do is to fail to warn those who live, work or visit their property about the presence of asbestos. By now, people are aware of how dangerous exposure to asbestos is, but all too often, people get sick from breathing in the toxic fibers because they had no idea they were doing so. As our kids head back to school, it is important to note that there are many schools that still contain asbestos.
A recent study uncovered some very disturbing information at 38 different universities in the UK. According to sources, as many as 17,000 students slept in dormitory rooms that contained asbestos last year. And most, if not all, of them were completely unaware that they were so close to such a toxic substance.
Although asbestos may be relatively harmless when it is undisturbed, friable asbestos crumbles easily and can be ingested without a person even realizing it. If these students were living in conditions where the asbestos materials were disturbed and released into the air, they likely had no reason to be concerned about it because they had no idea it may have contained asbestos.
This is why it is crucial for building owners to either warn tenants and visitors about the asbestos or take the steps necessary to have the toxic materials removed safely and responsibly. If they fail to act either way, negligent building owners can be held accountable if a person suffers illness or injury onsite.
Source: The Huffington Post UK, “Students Sleeping In Asbestos Bedrooms At University Without Knowing,” Aug. 29, 2013