Few contractors actually pay fines for worker asbestos exposure

There is no denying the dangers that asbestos poses to the health and well-being of everyone exposed to it. Ohio workers tasked with safely removing the toxic substance are especially at risk for contracting deadly disease -- such as mesothelioma -- months and even years after the initial exposure. Still, with all of this knowledge, some employers continue to knowingly put people in unnecessarily risky positions by failing to alert them to asbestos exposure.

An investigation in another state turned up startling trends that are likely happening across the rest of the United States. Many employers tasked with asbestos abatement were blatantly ignoring safety regulations in a variety of ways. One instance involved workers who were never told that they were dealing with asbestos, and as a result were not issued any proper safety gear. Another case found that one employer hired untrained individuals from a homeless shelter since those individuals would likely not complain about any of the dangerous working conditions they were put in.

That state's division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is believed to have seriously dropped the ball on worker safety. Over a period of seven years, only one-third of the asbestos abatement violation cases in Michigan involved any type of penalty. To add insult to injury, the vast majority of fines remain unpaid, even after some of those fines underwent drastic reductions.

According to a 1971 declaration by the Environmental Protection agency, asbestos is not safe at any level. Asbestos exposure has been studied and confirmed to lead to cancer and lung disease that often develops years after the fact, making safety at the time of removal a necessity. When Ohio's OSHA refuses to take appropriate action against negligent employers, it is often up to victims to stand up for their own rights and safety. Victims who have contracted deadly diseases from asbestos exposure can hold a past employer accountable for medical bills, pain and suffering and wrongful exposure.

Source: wzzm13.com, "Deadly asbestos: Workers put in jeopardy, but state won't get tough", Jennifer Dixon and Kristi Tanner, May 2, 2016

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