Unfortunately, workers today are still being exposed to asbestos while on the job. Recently, a contractor and subcontractor in Chicago, IL exposed workers to the substance during the removal of a commercial roof.
The employers were cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for several violations, including: failing to conduct an exposure assessment for asbestos, failure to establish a respiratory protection program, failure to use engineering controls to remove material likely to contain asbestos, failure to train workers on asbestos hazards, and failure to provide personal protective clothing.
These violations are serious. Asbestos exposure can lead to rare and fatal respiratory diseases, including asbestosis and mesothelioma. The latency periods of these diseases can be anywhere from a few years to several decades, meaning the workers could be retired by the time they start exhibiting symptoms.
By law, employers in the United States are required to keep employees safe on the job. OSHA proposed fines of $21,600 and $48,510 for the employers involved in the neglect. Do you think these amounts are enough? Please share your thoughts within a comment below.