Exposure to asbestos is an unfortunately common workplace hazard. Employees may be put at risk when handling materials that contain asbestos, demolishing buildings with long-dormant insulation, or even working on railroads or shipyards. By law, every employer has a duty to ensure that their workplace is as safe as possible for their employees.
Failing to meet this requirement could give rise to workers’ compensation insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits. Consulting with an attorney could help you connect your diagnosis to your employer’s failure to keep you safe. A dedicated attorney at Brayton Purcell LLP could evaluate your situation and help you better understand the dangers of asbestos and your employer’s responsibility for any illnesses you develop.
Examining Each Work Site for Potential Exposure
Employers have a duty to ensure that every worksite is safe for the job they are hiring workers to perform. This includes evaluating the potential hazards that may result from exposure to dangerous substances, such as asbestos.
These present-day concerns most often arise in the construction or demolition industries. Employers should research the building’s history to determine if asbestos has ever been used in construction or updates over the years. Additionally, if the building is of a certain age, it is reasonable to assume that asbestos will be present.
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration Rules § 1926.1101, construction or demolition employers must not allow their workers to face exposure to asbestos in excess of 0.1 fiber per cubic centimeter of air over a period of eight hours. This means that employers must provide all necessary safety equipment to prevent this exposure. Similar concepts apply to OSHA regulations in other modern-day industries.
Dangerous Asbestos Exposure Often Happened Decades in the Past
It is unfortunate for workers that many of the modern safety rules in place under OSHA were not enforced as recently as the late 20th century. This is especially true in the case of asbestos. As late as the 1970s, there were no regularly enforced wide-ranging federal regulations concerning this dangerous substance. Employers often used it as they saw fit. However, workers often received no or minimal training concerning the safe use of asbestos or protective gear to prevent exposure.
This lack of protection occurred in many industries. Naturally, miners who worked to obtain this substance faced exposure on a daily basis. So too did workers in the construction industry using asbestos-based products.
The impact of this lack of safety is still present today. Employees in most blue-collar professions still experience exposure as a consequence of companies’ choices decades ago. An experienced attorney could help impacted parties stand up for their legal rights and explore how they may hold employers liable for their failures to keep workers safe.
Asbestos and Employer Responsibility Raises Many Key Questions
Asbestos exposure is a risk that a surprisingly large number of employees face while on the job.. This is part of what has led to a large number of mesothelioma diagnoses.
Sadly, even modern-day employers may fail to keep their workers safe. Employees in most blue-collar professions such as the construction, railroad, or shipping industries may still face exposure to asbestos when dealing with old buildings or machinery. Employers must provide proper safety equipment and training to limit the chances of exposure, since there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. An attorney could help you evaluate your legal rights after asbestos exposure, whether this occurred decades ago or in the recent past. Give us a call today to get started.