The years you toiled in your job in construction made you proud, despite the toll it has taken on your body. However, now, late in your career, you discover that another threat – one that you had little knowledge about – confronts you.
During those construction jobs, you may have had regular exposure to asbestos. Although you seem to feel fine now, that could change in time. Illnesses such as mesothelioma, asbestos and lung cancer may surface decades after initial exposure. Now, you want to know what you should do.
See your doctor, review legal options
Here are the crucial steps to take if you think that you have suffered regular exposure to asbestos:
- Make an appointment with your doctor: Do this immediately. Your doctor can help you assemble a chronology of events identifying every workplace where you may have suffered from asbestos exposure. A doctor can help you deduce any chances of secondhand asbestos exposure and refer you to a specialist.
- Tell your employer: If your employer claims it was unaware of the presence of asbestos, do not believe management. The company may have known all these years and failed to take action. However, it may have known about the issues and addressed it. Understand that employers have the responsibility to protect employees.
- Try to avoid further exposure: With the knowledge that you work in a setting that includes asbestos exposure, wear personal protective equipment. Your employer already should have issued this to you. It may include a respirator, safety mask, eyewear and disposable coveralls and boots.
- Review legal options: Contacting an attorney is highly recommended. An experienced attorney will help you determine whether you may qualify for compensation.
- Continue to monitor your health: Maintain regular check-ups with your doctor and recognize signs that your health may be deteriorating. Those symptoms may include painful coughing, chest pains, shortness of breath and unexplained weight loss.
You understand that your life may be at risk. If you have been exposed to asbestos at work, make sure to take these necessary steps.
Learn to protect yourself
An illness related to asbestos exposure may not emerge for at least two decades or even longer. Do not discount the fact that asbestos fibers may continue to threaten you and your coworkers. Protect yourself and tell others.