People who work in construction are likely aware of the dangers of asbestos. The dangerous fiber was often used in everything from plumbing to insulation for decades. Many buildings still contain asbestos, and it is considered to be relatively harmless if it is undisturbed. However, construction and demolition projects often kick up this asbestos which is when it can be breathed in by workers. All too often, this exposure ends up causing serious and fatal health problems including mesothelioma.
For nearly as long as the dangers of asbestos have been known, employers have willfully and knowingly failed to protect employees who work with the toxic fiber. Diseases such as mesothelioma have been directly linked to asbestos. And in many states, claims of mesothelioma are automatically classified as a workplace illness, which generally means that a worker qualifies for workers' compensation benefits.
We often read about the sometimes-hefty fines that negligent employers face for violating state and federal laws when it comes to removing and disposing of asbestos. These fines, intended to punish the recklessness of a business owner, may have little effect on the lives that are devastated by the asbestos exposure that is often a consequence of reckless removal practices.
Providing workers and residents with a safe environment is a duty that all property owners must take seriously. People should be able to expect that they will be given proper warnings if unsafe conditions exist and will be appropriately protected if there are hazardous conditions in place. This is certainly true when it comes to people work or live in a building that contains asbestos. In most cases, property owners or employers will make the responsible decision to have the toxic substance removed safety and by a certified abatement company.
Recently, we have been discussing the dangers of asbestos exposure that men and women in the military faced for decades. Unfortunately, people are still being exposed to this cancer-causing fiber, despite the known risks associated with it. Allowing people to come into contact with asbestos, whether it was 40 years ago on a naval ship or just days ago on a construction site, is extremely negligent behavior.
We have discussed the fact that asbestos has been used for several decades in many materials. While most people have stopped using the dangerous product, it does not mean that workers are safe from coming into contact with it. In fact, companies all across the country continue to repair, demolish and reconstruct buildings that contain asbestos. Many of these companies also continue to put their own workers in danger of developing various illnesses, including mesothelioma.
A man engaged in the renovation of three separate homes has been accused of improper removal and storage of asbestos containing material found in the residences. A lawsuit, filed in state court against him, seeks to impose penalties as steep as $25,000 a day for violations of a clean air law. Improper handling of asbestos in North Carolina and elsewhere has often resulted in serious personal injury or illness, with some contracting serious respiratory ailments or cancer as a consequence.
Too often, workers have been exposed to asbestos without their knowledge. Years later, these same workers may learn that they have developed a deadly form of cancer that is the result of breathing in asbestos fibers. Going back and tracking employment to uncover possible exposure sources can be difficult, but it is crucial if a person chooses to pursue compensation from negligent property owners.
One of the most upsetting things about asbestos exposure is that companies continue to be negligent with it comes to protecting others. We have used this blog to discuss the severe penalties for companies that violated asbestos regulations decades ago, which is why it is so discouraging to hear about an employer who continues to skirt the responsibility to keep workers safe.
One of the most frustrating aspects of dealing with an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma, can be determining who is responsible for contact with the dangerous product. In many cases, it can be argued that an employer has been negligent for allowing workers to come in contact with asbestos without proper warnings. But what about the manufacturer of a product that is designed to come into contact with asbestos? Should that party be held liable as well?