Many of the older buildings here in Ohio still contain toxic substances from materials used in their original construction. As long as they are not disturbed, those materials may not pose a danger to anyone, but during renovations or demolition of those structures, the chances of asbestos exposure means the careful removal of it in order to prevent it from doing harm to anyone. If not properly removed, asbestos could put numerous lives at risk.
For this reason, federal agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration outline certain procedures and precautions for the removal of asbestos from a building. When a property owner and/or contractor fails to follow applicable laws, OSHA may issue citations and impose fines, but the damage may already be done. For instance, the agency reports that a company on the east coast put people in harm’s way by failing to take certain precautions.
The New York company is accused of failing to use proper barriers during asbestos removal, failing to protect workers from exposure, failing to provide proper ventilation and more. Supposedly, the company did not even provide proper respiratory equipment to workers and did not implement a program to launder the clothing they wore during the removal process, among other things. Paying a fine does not erase the obvious disregard for the health and safety of those exposed.
For a company to so blatantly ignore safety precautions designed to prevent asbestos exposure to workers and others is reprehensible. Now, numerous individuals could spend the rest of their lives wondering if each time they go to the doctor, they will be told they have an asbestos-related illness. No one should have to live with that fear or the physical, emotional and financial consequences of another party’s failure to follow proper procedures. If something similar should happen here in Ohio, those exposed may have legal options to explore.