According to an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, workers in another state were knowingly exposed to the deadly substance asbestos by their boss. Authorities believe that the construction company took advantage of employees on temporary work visas in an attempt to circumvent the necessary safety precautions when dealing with asbestos. As most people in Ohio already know, asbestos exposure can lead to a myriad of excruciatingly painful and fatal diseases.
At the conclusion of the investigation, OSHA determined that Kehrer Brothers Construction and D7 roofing — a company affiliated with Kehrer — had knowingly and purposely violated OSHA standards concerning the handling of and exposure to asbestos. The workers who apparently suffered the worst exposures were in the United States on H-2B visas, also commonly referred to as temporary work visas. It is not clear if any of the workers were aware that they were being regularly exposed to the toxic substance, but company officials allegedly told these temporary workers that they would be fired for speaking with any of the investigators.
OSHA called the Kehrer Brothers’ actions illegal and outrageous, and also asserted that it plans to do everything possible to improve the safety of the company’s employees. In total, OSHA issued 16 citations against the company. Part of the violations included a failure to warn workers of the dangers, while others pertained to a lack of hazardous material training and safety equipment.
Employers are charged with providing the safest work environment possible, which includes safety training for employees as well as the equipment necessary to complete the job. It is unfortunate and sad that so many employers appear to take advantage of workers for their own gain, as those who have been exposed to asbestos can develop one of any number of debilitating diseases. When an Ohio worker is wrongly subjected to asbestos exposure by an employer, legal action in the form of a civil suit is often one of the best approaches to receiving necessary compensation.
Source: ehstoday.com, “Companies, Manager Face $2 Million OSHA Fine for Exposing Workers to Asbestos“, Sandy Smith, Aug. 12, 2015