Five men who were working on a hospital demolition site in Oregon have filed a lawsuit against the hospital and a construction contractor out of Utah. The workers claim that the contractor and the hospital were aware of the presence of asbestos on the site but did nothing to inform the workers or protect them from exposure.
The plaintiffs worked on a demolition and renovation project over the course of several months in 2012, and after an investigation by Oregon state regulators, Layton Construction and McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center were each fined about $25,000.
According to the workers’ lawsuit, the hospital and construction company violated state and federal laws by not telling the workers there was asbestos in the duct work of the hospital’s air conditioning system. The hospital and the contractor were aware of the presence of asbestos, according to the lawsuit.
The workers say they handled the duct work and were exposed to asbestos fibers in the dust created by the demolition. The workers were also not given any kind of protective respiratory equipment, and no measures were taken to keep the asbestos dust from spreading.
The lawsuit also claims that asbestos dust was allowed to spread through public parts of the hospital.
A news report notes that Layton Construction is a national contractor with projects underway in 17 states. In this instance, the company was fined by regulators for violations that echo the claims of the workers who are now suing.
The hospital was fined for seven violations that also support the claims of the workers.
Exposure to asbestos can cause cancer and respiratory disease, and companies have a legal obligation to protect workers and the general public from the dangers of exposure.
To learn more about mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, please visit our California asbestos site.
Source: The Register-Guard, “Hospital faces asbestos suit,” Christian Wihtol, July 18, 2013