Renovation workers subject to asbestos exposure

This blog has included many posts about the various kinds of occupations that entail a high risk of asbestos exposure, including construction, ship building, roofing and installation and removal of thermal insulation. As states such as North Carolina begin the demolition or renovation of older buildings, a new class of occupation can be added to the list of workers at risk for asbestos product exposure: renovation workers.

The point is demonstrated by recent orders issued by the U. S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) against the owner of three renovation companies in Texas. OSHA assessed fines against two companies in the amounts of $14,000 and $63,000 for willfully failing to determine the location and concentration of asbestos in residential apartment buildings. A third fine in the amount of $35,000 was issued against another company owned by the same developer for failing to ensure that workers followed proper asbestos removal practices.

The director of OSHA’s San Antonio office explained that the renovator of a commercial building must protect its workers from asbestos exposure. The director pointed out that asbestos exposure can lead to lung disease and cancer. If existing asbestos-containing products are not removed from a building using proper techniques, the workers who perform the renovation work are likely to inhale asbestos fibers, which medical science has shown to be the cause of diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Anyone who has been exposed to asbestos fibers or has lost a loved one to such exposure may wish to consult a physician who is knowledgeable about asbestos-related diseases. If any of the several diseases caused by asbestos product exposure is diagnosed, a conference with an attorney who specializes in handling claims for damages in such cases can provide a useful evaluation of the case. Moreover, an experienced attorney can provide an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for lost income, medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Source: Construction Dive, “OSHA fines TX companies $112K for exposing workers to asbestos,” Kim Slowey, Nov. 23, 2015