Most North Carolina residents don’t worry about asbestos exposure nowadays, but the substance is still found in older buildings. Those who are exposed to it can become seriously ill and suffer from mesothelioma and other cancers. Inmates hired to remove flooring from a maintenance shop in 2013 were inadvertently exposed to asbestos. They receive $56,000 in settlements for the lack of testing.
The inmates were working for the Idaho Transportation Department, when an inmate complained that proper asbestos testing was not performed. Instead of performing a fresh new test, the department was relying on a sample that showed no asbestos – from 25 years ago. A new test was performed, and the results tested positive for asbestos. The workers had no equipment to protect them from the exposure.
Although the transportation department will not admit to any wrongdoing, it still paid out $56,000 in settlements to the affected inmates.
When companies and government agencies fail to be proactive, they lose out in the long run. A simple test would have cost much less than the $56,000 that the department had to pony up to the affected workers. Plus, if any of the inmates become ill later on in life, they can file a lawsuit for the damages.
Asbestos exposure is not something that should be taken lightly. Many people have died from it and even though employers have an obligation to inform employees of possible exposure, many still cover it up. Those who believe they may have been exposed to asbestos should know their legal rights. They may be able to sue and receive compensation for damages such as medical bills, lost wages and even funeral expenses.
Source: Claims Journal, “Idaho Transportation Department Pays $56,000 for Asbestos Exposure“, Rebecca Boone, July 11, 2014