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Man found guilty of exposing teen worker to asbestos

A young worker and his family were likely devastated to learn that the teen had been exposed to asbestos while working for a 43-year-old plumber. The young man had been hired by the plumber to complete work in an old home removing materials that contained asbestos.

The work required the teen to dispose of two old boilers in the home. As is often the case in older buildings, asbestos had been used in various pieces of equipment, including pipes and the boilers. Instead of hiring someone certified to remove asbestos, the plumber enlisted the help of the teen without warning him about the asbestos or providing him with appropriate protective gear.

The plumber was found guilty on counts of violating the state Clean Air Act, failure to notify the state of the asbestos removal underway and failure to properly remove and dispose of the asbestos.

In addition to these charges, the plumber was also found guilty of child endangerment. This is reportedly the first time the statute has been cited in a case involving asbestos.

Unfortunately, this is likely not the first time that an employer has hired young, inexperienced and uncertified workers to handle toxic materials without alerting them to the dangers of asbestos exposure. Negligent and reckless parties will often do this as a way to get around state and federal laws that dictate how asbestos should be handled safely and how workers should be protected from breathing in the fibers. For them, it all comes down to valuing profits over a person's health.

A conviction on criminal charges may provide the family with some sense of relief that the plumber will not get away with putting the young man in danger. However, any resulting sentence will not provide the young man and his family with the financial compensation they will need to monitor the teen's health and treat any illnesses suffered as a result of the exposure. In cases like this one, it can be crucial for victims and their families to speak with an attorney to explore their options for filing a civil claim and pursuing compensation.

Source: CBS Boston, "Worcester Plumber Convicted Of Child Endangerment In Illegal Asbestos Removal," June 17, 2014

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