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Businessman admits he exposed workers to cancer causing asbestos

Few people -- if any -- can claim ignorance when it comes to the dangers of asbestos. With the real-life impact of asbestos as well understood as it is, some people in Ohio might be under the impression that asbestos-related cancer and other illnesses is a thing of the past, something with which only older generations have to deal. The jarring reality is that many employers still put their workers at risk for asbestos exposure, and some of them do it knowingly.

Asbestos removal standards are in place for a reason, and that reason is not to throw extra policies and costs at companies, but to protect the workers who must perform the delicate task of removing the toxic substance. That did not seem to matter to one out-of-state business owner who admitted to paying unqualified workers to work with asbestos without any type of protective equipment or training. His reasoning? Apparently, he wanted to save money.

The owner of the warehouse was caught after a Department of Labor inspector discovered employees actually working in a dumpster filled with what was ultimately confirmed as asbestos. The youngest employee was only 16 years old at the time. Aside from hefty concern for the workers who were routinely exposed to asbestos, it was also pointed out that the warehouse was located quite close to residential homes and that there was even a bus stop for school children nearby.

He ultimately pleaded guilty to criminal charges for violating asbestos standards, although he has yet to be sentenced. At this point, he could potentially have to cough up $250,000 in fines and do a five-year stint in prison, but that may be of little comfort to the workers and nearby residents who were wrongly exposed to such a deadly and toxic substance. Victims in Ohio who have developed cancer and other asbestos-related diseases likely understand how unsatisfying such a small fine can be when an individual purposely put other people's lives at risk. However, victims seeking compensation related to asbestos damages can utilize evidence collected during a criminal investigation in a related civil court proceeding.

Source: 13wham.com, "Avon man admits to failing to protect workers from asbestos", March 2, 2016

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