A group of immigrant workers in New Jersey claim their boss ordered them to work in unsafe asbestos job conditions, says a recent article in Salon, the online magazine.
These laborers claim they had to rip out asbestos without gloves and enter a crawl space containing this toxic material, with no protective equipment. The employer, a New Jersey apartment company, didn’t show proper regard for its workers’ safety.
“The worst thing was the asbestos,” one former employee told Salon. He claimed that, while in a tight crawl space, he’d been “100 percent breathing this stuff [asbestos] in.” He said he’d received no warning about the asbestos, and so he and his fellow workers went home covered in the mineral. This meant their families were also potentially exposed to asbestos.
While the realty company denied the accusations, this story illustrates how workers continue to be exposed to dangerous asbestos on the job. Asbestos was once valued for its strength and its resistance to heat and chemicals. Because of these properties, it was used in a variety of building products and so is still present in building roofs, tiles, walls, and insulation.
Both the Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have strict rules about asbestos exposure and removal. According to OSHA’s website, when asbestos is present employers need to provide safety equipment and are “required to further protect workers by establishing regulated areas, controlling certain work practices and instituting engineering controls to reduce the airborne levels [of asbestos].”
Asbestos fibers that are released into the air during demolition or construction activity are a health threat. Fibers that are inhaled can lodge permanently in the lungs and cause mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that attacks the linings of the body’s major organs. Often, symptoms of asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma take decades to appear.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible to receive compensation. Contact Sokolove Law for a free consultation today to learn more about filing an asbestos lawsuit.