According to a recent news article from the New Haven Independent, the owner of a construction company has decided to challenge a $65,000 fine that has been assessed by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA is a federal agency that is responsible for investigating worker safety violations across the United States. In cases involving toxic substances such as asbestos, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also has jurisdiction to get involved or lead an investigation. In this case, OSHA received a complaint from an employee about multiple possible asbestos violations and sent inspectors to the New England area construction site. The construction site was a warehouse that was no longer being used. When they completed their inspection, they found 17 separate asbestos management violations. While every asbestos violation poses a serious risk to the health and safety of workers and possibly the community in general, these 17 violations were specifically listed as serious violations within the meaning defined by OSHA guidelines.
Some of the violations noted in OSHA findings included allegations that the property owner did not provide an area for the workers to have lunch that was free of asbestos, they did not regularly monitor the air for the presence of the deadly asbestos fibers, they failed to use vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters to collect the dust and prevent it from escaping into the environment, they did not provide workers with asbestos approved respirators, and they did not wet the material to prevent dust from escaping.
As our Boston mesothelioma lawsuit attorneys have seen in far too many cases, failing to wet the asbestos material allows it to give off a significant amount of dust when being cut or grinded. This means that workers can inhale the deadly fibers. It also means the fibers can escape so others in the community can inhale them. In addition to the inhalation danger, these fibers can escape the jobsite and make their way into storm drains and groundwater and eventually contaminate the drinking water. If the deadly asbestos fibers are ingested, they can become lodged in the protective layer of the abdomen known as the mesothelium, where they can metastasize into the form of cancer known as malignant mesothelioma. If the cancer forms in the stomach, it is known as malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. If it forms in the lungs, it is called malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). While many think of mesothelioma as lung cancer, MPM is not the same type of lung cancer caused by smoking cigarettes. However, it should be noted that asbestos exposure can cause the form of lung cancer traditionally associated with smoking, and it can also cause a disease by scarring the tissue of a patient’s lungs. This disease is called asbestosis and is similar in symptoms and treatment to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) usually associated with smoking, as well. Like COPD, asbestos is usually not deadly when treated, but it seriously reduces a patient’s quality of life and can be fatal in some cases.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Work Site Hit With 17 Asbestos Violations, September 12, 2016, By Aliyya Sawby, New Haven Independent
More Blog Entries:
Rondon v. Hennessy Industries, Inc. – “Inevitable Use” Standard in Asbestos Litigation, July 2, 2016, Boston Mesothelioma Attorney Blog