Many cases of asbestos exposure occur, or have occurred, in connection with employment. Workers who have been exposed to asbestos on the job and who, years later, develop serious asbestos-related medical conditions have the right to hold their employer responsible and to seek appropriate compensation.
One way to hold an employer responsible for asbestos-exposure is to report workplace safety violations. Workers should know that employers have the responsibility to limit their employees' exposure to dangerous compounds like asbestos. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are bound by specific standards in the construction industry, shipyards, and in general industry.
Employers are required to monitor employee exposure to asbestos and provide hazard awareness training when there is risk of exposure. Employers are also required to keep airborne asbestos levels to a safe level, establish regulated areas, control work practices and implement engineering control in order to keep asbestos exposure to a minimum. Employers are also required to provide medical monitoring to workers who have been exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos.
Workers have a right to a safe workplace, and when an employer fails to abide by its duties under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, they deserve to be held accountable. Workers can hold their employer accountable by reporting them to OSHA without fear of employer reprisal. If problems arise, working with an experienced attorney can ensure that a worker who reports violations has his or her rights protected.
In addition to reporting workplace safety violations related to asbestos, workers who are exposed to asbestos should know about their right to seek compensation for occupational asbestos-related diseases. We'll look at this issue in our next post.