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Articles Posted in Occupations & Asbestos

Firefighters are quite important to the community since they protect people against fires and other perils. Unfortunately, firefighters face many safety and health risks. When people think of the different safety and health risks firefighters face, they often think of hazards such as burns, crush injuries from collapsing buildings, and smoke inhalation. Indeed, all these are risks that need to be acknowledged. However, apart from these well-known risks, firefighters face unique asbestos exposure risks. While a firefighter’s set of soot-covered overalls is a sign of a brave and proud firefighter, it is also a sign of potentially deadly asbestos contamination.

How are Firefighters Exposed to Asbestos?

During the 20th century, asbestos-contaminated materials were widely used in buildings. Most manufacturers only phased out the use of asbestos after its link to fatal illnesses was publicly revealed. However, despite the phasing out, the toxic substance remains in millions of old buildings across America.

Because of its resistance to corrosion, heat, and electricity, the naturally occurring mineral asbestos was a popular additive to various products in the 20th century. Unfortunately, even though asbestos boasts of such qualities, this substance poses a threat to people’s lives. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can get stuck in a person’s body. Over time, trapped asbestos fibers can cause scarring, inflammation, and eventually asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma, a rare, aggressive, and fatal cancer. Usually, after asbestos exposure, it can take up to 60 years for someone to realize they have mesothelioma. Unfortunately, because of mesothelioma’s long latency period, sometimes people realize they are sick when it is too late. Nevertheless, it is vital to note that not everyone who falls victim to asbestos exposure develops mesothelioma.

As much as not every individual who falls victim to asbestos exposure develops mesothelioma, it is vital to take caution. Being cautious is especially important, considering the life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient ranges from 12 to slightly over 20 months. Even though asbestos is no longer commonly used, it still lingers in workplaces and homes. In the 20th century, the cancer-causing substance was used in thousands of products, and many asbestos-contaminated materials can still be found in offices, homes, and factories across America. Therefore, to avoid asbestos exposure, people must educate themselves about the possible hiding places of asbestos. At work, workers may encounter asbestos in settings such as;

  • power plants

Construction workers are prone to several dangers. In fact, the construction sector is considered among the most dangerous sectors in which to work. Unfortunately, people have become so accustomed to the dangers that construction workers face daily that occupational hazards in the construction sector have become acceptable risks. Construction workers are, for instance, prone to slip and falls, which is the main leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Apart from being prone to slip and falls, construction workers also risk being exposed to harmful substances. One of the harmful substances that construction workers risk being exposed to is asbestos.

Asbestos, a dangerous substance that causes mesothelioma and other life-altering diseases, continues to threaten the health and lives of many construction workers. Even though current laws limit the use of asbestos, construction workers are still prone to occupational exposure. Asbestos exposure remains a significant problem in the construction industry and might pose an even greater risk for years to come. Considering asbestos was commonly used in the construction industry, construction workers today come across this substance regularly. When construction workers come into contact with asbestos-containing materials, they can develop illnesses such as mesothelioma that can alter their lives and those of their families forever.

Asbestos can remain hidden in almost every part of a building or structure. Therefore, just because a person does not construct new buildings or structures, does not mean they are safe from exposure to asbestos. Workers conducting maintenance, renovations, or demolitions are all at risk of asbestos exposure in the same way those who interact with asbestos during the construction of new buildings or structures are.

A U.S. federal judge recently handed down an important ruling in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit that will allow four expert witnesses to testify on behalf of the plaintiff who claims that her husband developed a serious form of lung cancer as a result of negligence on the part of the deceased’s former employer. Attorneys for defendant Air & Liquid Services Inc. had sought to exclude the expert witnesses’ testimony in the case, in what can only be interpreted as an attempt to skirt liability for the harm caused by their client.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, the deceased victim worked in the engine room aboard the USS Tuscaloosa in 1974 and was exposed to asbestos containing components during that time. As a result of his exposure to deadly asbestos fibers while serving his country, the deceased developed a rare and deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma.

One of the expert witnesses the plaintiff had intended to call at trial was to testify that during the 1960s and 1970s, ships like the USS Tuscaloosa would have their asbestos-containing gaskets removed and replaced during routine maintenance. Further, the removal and replacement of these asbestos gaskets would often produce airborne asbestos fibers, which would settle on horizontal surfaces  in densely packed machinery spaces and that enginemen like the deceased would work on these types of systems.

An Ohio appeals court recently revived an asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by the widow of a mesothelioma cancer victim who claimed that he developed a rare and deadly form of lung cancer from years of exposure to asbestos while working with the Bendix brakes. After a Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas granted the defendant, Honeywell International, Inc., summary judgment in 2017, the Eighth Appellate District in Ohio agreed with the plaintiff that the lower court erred in its decision and that there were genuine issues of fact about the case for a jury to decide in a court of law.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, the plaintiff’s widow alleged that her husband developed mesothelioma from using Bendix brake products developed by Honeywell International while working as a supervisor for a company that manufactured intercity buses. The plaintiff presented testimony from the victim’s coworker that stated the victim spent significant time in the area of the facility where brake work was being done, where asbestos fibers from the defendant’s Bendix brakes were present in the air. Further, the plaintiff claimed that her husband was exposed to asbestos fibers during the time he worked in the area of the facility where Bendix brake linings were grounded.

Fortunately for the plaintiff, the Ohio appeals court agreed that the case should be heard by a jury and gave the victim a chance for his case to be heard in court, six years after his passing in 2014. The case is yet another example of the lengths to which gigantic companies will go in order to skirt liability for the harm caused by the products they knew or should have known could pose a health risk to workers and the general public.

A New York-based minerals and chemical company recently agreed to a settlement during jury deliberations in a Florida state court to resolve an industrial talc mesothelioma cancer lawsuit. While the settlement terms between Vanderbilt Minerals, Inc. and the plaintiffs was not disclosed, the plaintiffs’ mesothelioma cancer lawsuit had asked for $11.5 million in total compensation, making the settlement likely in the millions of dollars.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, filed in Polk County court, the plaintiff worked for the Florida Tile Company during the 1970s, during which time he claims he used asbestos-laden products produced by Vanderbilt Minerals, Inc. The lawsuit claimed that Vanderbilt Minerals, Inc. knew about the risks of asbestos exposure from the talc it used in its products but provided no warning to workers about these risks.

The plaintiff alleged that Vanderbilt Mineral, Inc.’s talc came sourced from a mine that had been proven to contain asbestos and that the company manufactured and sold these products to Florida Tile Company during his tenure. Both talc and asbestos are naturally occurring minerals that can be found in deposits side by side one another. If talc sourcing companies or those processing the mineral do not take precautions to test for asbestos contamination, innocent consumers may suffer from serious health conditions from exposure to the carcinogen.

A St. Louis state jury recently handed down a substantial $8.4 million plaintiff’s verdict on behalf of a former auto mechanic who claimed his mesothelioma cancer diagnosis was due to negligence on the part of Ford Motor Company. The jury’s award included $5,725,000 in actual damages and $2 million in punitive damages, as well as an additional $708,000 in actual damages for the victim’s wife, finding she “did sustain damage as a direct result of injury to her husband.”

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in St. Louis City Circuit Court, the plaintiff was allegedly exposed to asbestos fibers by working with brakes, gaskets, clutches, and OEM replacement parts developed and sold by Ford Motor Company. As a result of years of exposure to asbestos, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer which usually affects the lungs but can spread to other areas of the body such as the heart and abdomen.

The plaintiff’s mesothelioma cancer lawsuit claims that despite Ford’s knowledge about the risks the asbestos in its auto parts could pose to innocent people, the automaker chose not to provide any warning about the dangers. The plaintiff worked as a mechanic at Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln automobile dealerships from the 1960s until the 1980s, much of that during a period before the federal government had addressed the dangers of asbestos.

A Florida state appeals court recently denied a motion by the defendant in an asbestos cancer lawsuit to bar testimony from one of its company executives who plaintiffs say would have inside knowledge about the defendant’s history and interactions with asbestos-containing products, as well as its adherence to occupational health and safety laws. The mesothelioma cancer lawsuit names utility company Florida Power & Light Co. as the defendant and accused the business of knowingly exposing the plaintiff to dangerous carcinogens which caused his cancer diagnosis and other health problems.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, originally filed in 2017 in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma from decades of asbestos exposure over the course of his employment at Florida Power & Light Co. The plaintiff asserts that the company’s negligence is responsible for his deadly cancer diagnosis by allowing him to work with and around asbestos at power plants operated by Florida Power & Light without any warning about the dangers posed by the carcinogenic material.

In its defense of the lawsuit, Florida Power & Light Co. sought a court’s injunction to block the plaintiff from deposing corporate representatives who would testify about the victim’s work conditions at the time of his employment. According to court documents, “FPL moved for protective orders from each notice and in support, submitted an affidavit prepared by its senior attorney, stating that compliance and production would require FPL to expend significant time, be voluminous and would cost millions of dollars.”

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral once used in a variety of industrial, commercial, and military applications mostly for its ability to be molded into almost any shape, as well as its heat-resistant properties. Unfortunately, the widespread use of asbestos attributes to 3,000 annual diagnoses even to this day.

Asbestos was once commonly used in vinyl flooring tiles, home insulation, auto parts-such as brakes and gaskets, and even in everyday appliances like ovens. The mineral found extensive use in industrial applications for pipefitting, steamfitting, and other heavy-duty insulation and gasket-making applications. Asbestos was once widely used in military applications aboard Navy ships in engine rooms.

One of the main complications with mesothelioma is its latency period – the time between exposure and diagnosis, which can be anywhere from 20 years to 50 years, leaving patients with diminished treatment options upon diagnosis. The type of mesothelioma discovered can also further complicate matters. The three main types of mesothelioma are:

A New York Supreme Court judge recently handed down a significant ruling in an asbestos cancer lawsuit in favor of a man who claims his former employer caused his terminal cancer by using materials contaminated with deadly carcinogens. The case involved a now deceased victim who claimed that during his time as a roofer, he frequently used products manufactured with asbestos by CertainTeed Corporation and that this was the source of his exposure to the carcinogen which caused his ultimately fatal condition.

CertainTeed Corporation attempted to avoid liability for manufacturing the asbestos-contaminated roofing and construction materials by filing a motion for summary judgement to have the case thrown out of court. The company claimed that they had ceased manufacturing products with asbestos during the victim’s stated dates of employment in which he claimed to have used the asbestos-containing materials.

However, the New York City Supreme Court judge hearing the case noted that CertainTeed could not meet the legal standard to have the case dismissed on such grounds at it could not definitively prove that the plaintiff had not come in contact with asbestos-containing materials that had already been manufactured. In fact, the plaintiff had testified that during projects which lasted significant amounts of time, he used construction materials manufactured by CertainTeed years prior, including over 100 cans of roofing coating known to contain asbestos.

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