Exposure to the fibrous mineral asbestos can cause serious injury or illness such as mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer, respiratory complications, and more. People who develop an illness or disease from asbestos are usually those who are regularly exposed to the hazardous fibers in the workplace. Regular asbestos exposure most commonly occurs when employees either directly handle asbestos or are exposed through significant environmental contact. Workplace exposure to asbestos poses the highest risk of developing mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos related diseases.
The risk of injury or illness greatly rises depending on the duration and intensity of asbestos exposure. In some cases, victims of mesothelioma and other illnesses have had only a few months exposure to asbestos. However, most cases of mesothelioma are caused by high levels of workplace exposure to asbestos.
Who Is at Risk for Workplace Exposure?
Asbestos was widely used and manufactured in a number of industries worldwide. Millions of employees have been subjected to dangerous workplace exposure. Tradesmen in the steel mills, electrical, plumbing, mining, milling, shipbuilding, armed forces (particularly, navy veterans had a high risk of asbestos exposure and developing mesothelioma), and insulation industries, among others are the most at risk for breathing in toxic asbestos fibers while on the job. In addition, demolition workers, firefighters, drywall removers, and similar tradesmen are at risk of workplace exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos Workplace Exposure Laws
Federal and state governments have recognized the serious health hazards posed by workplace exposure to dangerous asbestos fibers and have established laws and regulations accordingly. The Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency that enforces workplace exposure laws created to protect workers. These laws define the permissible workplace exposure level at 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter for an eight-hour workday and one fiber per cubic centimeter in any thirty-minute time frame.
Furthermore, asbestos workplace exposure laws require employers to provide employees with protective clothing and respiratory equipment, sufficient hygiene facilities (to wash off clinging asbestos fibers), routine health exams, and training to safely work with asbestos.
Legal Rights of Persons Exposed to Asbestos at Work
Indviduals who have developed a serious illness or disease as a result of workplace exposure to asbestos have the legal right to pursue an asbestos lawsuit to seek compensation for losses and suffering.
Because mesothelioma and other diseases have a long latency period and may not develop years until after asbestos exposure, you may still seek monetary recovery after you've been diagnosed with an illness. In rare cases, a worker who expects to develop an illness from workplace asbestos exposure can also file a lawsuit. In the event that a worker was killed as a result of an asbestos-related illness, family members can file an asbestos claim to seek compensation for their losses.
If you want to learn more information about workplace exposure to asbestos or wish to pursue a lawsuit, it is wise to consult a qualified asbestos attorney who can evaluate your case, inform you of your legal options, protect your rights, and maximize your interests.