Asbestos is a mineral that was used extensively in the United States for much of the 20th century in everything from building materials to brake pads.
It wasn’t until after millions of Americans were exposed to dangerous airborne asbestos in mines, manufacturing, industrial plants, construction and aboard U.S. Navy ships that environmental officials finally demanded that the toxic substance no longer be used.
However, there are still many buildings throughout the country in which asbestos is prevalent. The asbestos doesn’t always pose a threat if it is left intact and is in good condition, but when it is damaged or deteriorating, it can send fibers into the air that can cause cancer and other horrible lung diseases.
For that reason, there are very strict precautions in place for workers who are charged with removing asbestos out of buildings that are being demolished, renovated or repaired. However, it is clear that not all of the contractors that take on asbestos removal follow the safety regulations, thereby putting their workers and others at risk.
In fact, federal prosecutors have recently been cracking down on numerous contractors who have cut corners in asbestos removal, and several states are also beginning to step up enforcement measures, as a recent article from the Lansing State Journal reports.
Both federal and state prosecutors say that many contractors cut corners in order to save money, but they end up facing serious criminal charges and fines as a result. Property owners can also face criminal liability for the improper removal of asbestos from buildings.
In addition to facing criminal charges and fines, employers who expose their workers to asbestos and property owners can also face civil liability in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
For many years, our firm has been fighting on behalf of construction workers who have suffered as a result of asbestos exposure. To find out more about our practice, please visit our page on Construction Trades.