Asbestos-Laden Old Sign Shop Turned into Boston Homeless Shelter

Harsh Boston winters can be particularly hard on the city’s many homeless who are confined to outside. In an effort to find more temporary housing for homeless residents of Boston, the city has opened a new homeless shelter in what was once a sign shop operated by the city of Boston.

homeless-1176741-m.jpgThe industrial space used for the homeless shelter, according to a recent news article from the Boston Globe, house the old sign shop less than a month ago. It contained asbestos tiles throughout the building, and most of the windows were broken with cracked frames. The building was also filled with tools and metal scraps used to make street signs, parking meters, and traffic signal lights. The walls were covered with plaster, which also contained asbestos.

While renovation projects like this normally take years, teams of private contractors were brought in and worked around the clock to remove all remnants of the old sign shop, complete all asbestos abatement (removal), and renovate the structure.

In less than a month, around $2 million worth of flooring, walls, new plumbing, lighting, and safety systems were installed. Furniture was shipped in and the building was set up as a new homeless shelter in record time. There is still work to be done on the new homeless shelter, but residents are already sleeping there and are reported to be very happy with the new facility.

One of the more impressive parts of this renovation involves the speed at which asbestos abatement was completed. As our Boston mesothelioma injury lawyers are aware, the asbestos process must be done by trained workers at a certified contractor who are provide with proper safety equipment.

Safety equipment, including protective clothing and respirators, is designed not only to keep workers safe, but to prevent them from taking asbestos home to their families, as had happened all too many times in the past.

In order to legally and safely remove asbestos, a licensed abatement company must perform a survey to determine what material contains asbestos. Some material can be visually identified and others require testing at a materials laboratory. Once presence of asbestos has been confirmed, owners must apply for permits with the department of health before any work can begin. Once it is properly permitted, the certified company can begin work in such a way as to protect people from asbestos exposure during the project.

Unfortunately, many property owners don’t want to spend the money for an inspection and abatement, so they illegally remove asbestos material in a dangerous way and illegally dispose of the construction debris. While they might be willing to risk their own safety, they often don’t tell workers they are dealing with asbestos material, and do not provide workers with any training or protective equipment.

This can also expose the community to a risk of asbestos exposure, because proper asbestos abatement often involves tenting the exterior of the structure and wetting the asbestos dust to prevent it from floating in the air and being inhaled by unsuspecting victims.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

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Mesothelioma Lawsuits for Shipyard Workers, July 30, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog

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