Asbestos exposure can cause deadly diseases such as mesothelioma. Unfortunately, if you work with asbestos or asbestos-contaminated materials, you are at an increased risk of asbestos exposure. In fact, occupational asbestos exposure is among the most common types of exposure.
If you work with asbestos or asbestos-contaminated materials, OSHA requires your employer to take certain steps to reduce the hazards of asbestos at work. Indeed, the exact steps your employer must take depend on the industry. However, there are some basic requirements that all employers are required to meet.
What are the Hazards of Asbestos?
Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognize asbestos as a health hazard. Because of this, both the EPA and OSHA highly regulate the use of asbestos.
When asbestos is disturbed, asbestos fibers are released into the air. These fibers can cause deadly diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma when inhaled. And according to research, all asbestos fiber types can cause mesothelioma in humans.
According to OSHA, the hazards of asbestos may occur while, among other things, performing brake or clutch repairs, manufacturing asbestos-containing products, and demolishing or repairing ships or buildings.
What Does OSHA Require Employers to Do to Reduce the Hazards of Asbestos at Work?
The following are some of the things the OSHA standards require employers to do to reduce the hazards of asbestos at work;
- Provide clean protective clothing and equipment to all employees who work with asbestos or asbestos-contaminated materials at least weekly
- Prohibit the removal of asbestos from protective clothing and equipment by shaking or blowing
- Ensuring that the laundering of contaminated clothing and equipment happens to prevent the release of asbestos fibers into the air
- Inform any person who launders protective clothing or equipment of the potentially harmful effects of asbestos exposure
- Ensure contaminated clothing is transported safely
- Provide an awareness training whenever there is potential exposure to asbestos
- Ensure airborne asbestos never exceeds legal limits
- If legal limits are reached or exposure times exceeded, provide medical monitoring of affected employees
If an employer fails to take the steps necessary to reduce the hazard of asbestos at work, they may be held legally liable if a worker develops an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma.
There is No Safe Level of Asbestos Exposure
Some people might argue that there is a safe level of asbestos exposure because there is a permissible exposure limit (PEL). However, although there is a permissible exposure limit (PEL) for asbestos, the truth is that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure, and even OSHA acknowledges this fact. There have been cases of people developing asbestos-related diseases after being exposed to only a small amount of asbestos. Generally, any exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing an asbestos-related illness.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.