This blog has repeated written about the hazard posed by asbestos in 19th and early 20th century buildings in North Carolina and elsewhere. Many reports of asbestos-containing products in historic buildings emerge when a building is slated for demolition or extensive renovation. A similar report has now been made about one of the most iconic buildings in the nation’s national park system, the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park.
The information about asbestos in the Old Faithful Inn came to light when a maintenance worker filed a claim accusing the Inn’s operator, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, of retaliating against him after he reported that he and five other workers suffered asbestos product exposure while working in the building. According to the worker’ statement and other reports, many pipes in the west wing of the hotel were wrapped in asbestos. Several pipes ruptured when the heating system was turned on, and workers were required to break into walls to reach the leaking pipes. No warnings about the presence of asbestos were provided, and the workers were not provided adequate protective gear such as Hazmat suits and respirator masks.
The employee alleges that he began receiving negative performance reviews and that his contract was not renewed after he filed his claim. The resort company denied the allegations and stated that the safety of its employees was its “highest concern.”
The medical link between inhaling asbestos fibers and contracting diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestos has been known for almost 60 years, but the white fibers are very much a current environmental health hazard. Anyone who may have been exposed to airborne asbestos fibers during a construction or renovation project should seek competent medical advice. If an examination reveals the presence of an asbestos- related disease, a conference with an attorney who specializes in such product liability lawsuits can provide a helpful analysis of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expense, lost income and pain and suffering.
Source: Washington Post, “APNewsBreak: Worker claims retaliation over asbestos report,” Mead Gruver, March 21, 2016