Many cases of asbestos-related lung disease could and should have been avoided by the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Safety standards have been in place for many years. Yet, some companies choose to ignore them to the detriment of their workers’ health.
You have a right to expect a safe working environment
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lays down rules that employers must follow to protect their employees. For people working with asbestos, these rules include:
- Respirators: These must meet standards that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) sets out. They should contain the appropriate filter cartridges, which employers should replace when you need them. Employers must ensure your respirator fits correctly and perform tests to check this at least twice a year.
- Protective clothing: Your employer must provide you with appropriate PPE to protect your whole body. They must change it at least once a week. Your employer is responsible for providing, cleaning, repairing and replacing all PPE.
- Changing facilities: Companies must provide facilities to allow you to get changed without contaminating your personal clothing. Wash facilities must also be in place for you to clean your respirator and reduce the chance it irritates your skin.
Respirators make breathing harder, which could prevent you from doing your job. If you are unable to operate when wearing one, your employer must offer you alternative work.
If your employer did not take proper precautions to protect you from asbestos exposure, you might also have exposed your family to it every day when you went home. The symptoms of asbestos exposure can take years to show up. When they do, they can proceed at an alarming rate, reducing the time you have left to spend with your family. If you believe your illness is the result of asbestos exposure, it may be time to learn more about your legal options.