The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the division of the U.S. Department of Labor that establishes protocols and procedures to ensure worker safety, has created an updated fact sheet detailing the hazards of asbestos and the rights of workers at risk of coming in contact with this deadly mineral.
OSHA created its asbestos fact sheet for employees and employers alike. It is intended to be an educational and informative resource to protect everyone from aggressive diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, an incurable cancer that is directly linked to asbestos exposure.
The fact sheet includes such information such as:
- What is the hazard?
- Where is the hazard?
- Standards of protection
- Permissible exposure limits
- Workplace assessment
- Monitoring for compliance
The existence of this fact sheet, as well as OSHA’s need to update it, speaks to the ongoing challenge of protecting the public from the hazards of asbestos. It is not uncommon — even today — to find names of prominent corporations splashed across news headlines for asbestos exposure violations.
Any employee who suspects asbestos-handling violations at their workplace should feel empowered to contact OSHA confidentially at 1-800-321-OSHA. Calls placed by many anonymous concerned workers have triggered on-site inspections that revealed serious asbestos-handling violations.
The OSHA Asbestos Fact Sheet lists workers’ rights, including:
- The right to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
- The right to receive information and training on OSHA standards at their workplace and asbestos hazard prevention.
- The right to review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
- The right to get copies of test results that identify and measure hazards.
- The right to file a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA’s rules.
- The right to exercise their rights under the law without retaliation or discrimination.
The OSHA fact sheet on asbestos can be found here.