While at work, employees have the right to a reasonable expectation of safety while they are doing their jobs. Even in high-risk occupations, there are steps employers can take that will help their employees stay as safe as possible. When there are known dangers that can cause harm to workers, it is the responsibility of the employer to take whatever steps are necessary to remove the danger. This includes prompt mitigation and removal of toxic substances that can cause sickness and long-term damage, such as asbestos.
If there are asbestos particles in the air, they are easy to breathe in without noticing. These particles often stay embedded in the lungs for decades, leading to a high chance that a potentially fatal lung disease could develop. Workers are often unaware of their exposure until it is too late, and they are already ill as a result of it.
The dangers of contact with asbestos
The dangers of asbestos exposure are well known. Coming into contact with even a small amount of the dangerous substance can result in the development of dangerous lung diseases, including mesothelioma. However, asbestos was widely used in many different materials, such as pipes and insulation, leading to a high risk of exposure for certain workers. By the early 1990s, the risks of breathing in even small asbestos particles were well known, leading to its prohibition in certain processes and elements.
Despite this, however, the United States never completely banned the use of the mineral in the country. There is a chance that the Environmental Protection Agency could finally outlaw the dangerous substance. There are some who oppose the ban as they say that it would place an unnecessary burden on certain industries. In the meantime, workers continue to pay the price for the continued use of asbestos in certain industries and industrial processes.
The rights of sick workers
Workers who become ill as a result of exposure to asbestos have rights. Sick workers may be eligible to pursue compensation through the civil justice system, seeking justice and holding responsible parties accountable for toxic exposure they experienced in the workplace. Even if you believe your exposure happened decades in the past, there are specific steps you can take that will allow you to protect your interests and secure what you need for your medical treatment needs and the well-being of your family.