The Ohio train disaster made headlines in 2019 and is still a viable topic for discussion today. The train accident was a significant incident in that it not only resulted in the unfortunate loss of life, but also, the tragedy caused extensive damage to the local community.
If you may have been exposed to asbestos, even when you were a child, speak to your healthcare provider about tests and screening to help detect the presence of asbestos fibers and asbestos-related diseases.
What happened, exactly? A train transporting a combination of hazardous chemicals, including ethanol, petroleum, and other flammable materials, got derailed. This quickly instigated a large fire that spread quickly, and finally culminated in a massive explosion.
The explosion caused the loss of two lives and severe injuries to several others – however, the damage doesn’t end there. The disaster also caused the widespread destruction of property in the local community, marring multiple buildings.
As a result, dozens of residents were displaced from their homes, scrambling to find shelter or being forced into homelessness. Of course, this was a life-changing incident for the people of Minerva, Ohio, and left a lasting impact on the community.
What Caused the Tragedy
The Ohio train disaster was ultimately found to be caused by an equipment failure. To be specific, a broken wheel caused the train to derail, resulting in a catastrophic chain of events.
This unfortunate incident raised many questions about the safety involved in transporting hazardous materials, and the roles corporations play when it comes down to ensuring public safety. One of the critical issues brought up was the history of safety violations tied to the company responsible for operating the train. This company, Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway, had been fined multiple times for failing to comply with regulations.
Critics of the case argued that the company had prioritized profits over safety and that its negligence had ultimately contributed to the tragic incident. Given Wheeling’s lengthy violation record, it’s not hard to see how they arrived at this conclusion.
“Generally, those who develop asbestos-related diseases show no signs of illness for a long time after exposure.”
Source: National Cancer Institute (NIH)1
Asbestos and Tobacco Industries
The Ohio train accident is just one of many examples of the dangers of transporting hazardous materials as well as the risks associated with corporate malfeasance. Other large industries with shady reputations and lobbying powers have also made headlines over the years. Two that come to mind in particular are the asbestos and tobacco industries. These are industries where corporate malfeasance has had devastating consequences for public health and safety.
Preventing injuries from harmful industrial materials
In the case of asbestos, corporations that manufactured or otherwise used asbestos in their products continued to expose workers and consumers to the mineral for decades, despite knowing about its health risks. This exposure has led to thousands of illnesses and deaths, numerous legal battles, and (thankfully) stricter regulations surrounding asbestos use – although the EPA was unsuccessfully in outlawing it entirely.
Similarly, the tobacco industry took had a significant fall from grace after widespread accusations that execs actively concealed the health risks of smoking, even though they were well aware of its dangers. They allegedly prioritized profits over public health.
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Regulations For Transportation of Hazardous Materials
The Ohio train disaster highlights the need for increased regulation and better oversight of hazardous materials transportation. There should also be more concerted efforts placed on holding corporations accountable for their actions. The battle against corporate malfeasance in industries like asbestos and tobacco has been ongoing for decades, and advocates continue to fight for stronger regulations to protect public health and safety.
The Ohio train disaster is a stark reminder of the consequences of failing to prioritize safety, as well as the importance of maintaining corporate responsibility.
In recent years, some efforts have been made to improve safety regulations for hazardous materials transportation. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation has implemented new safety rules for transporting crude oil by rail, including requirements for improved tank car designs and increased inspections. However, there is still much more work to be done to ensure that hazardous materials are transported safely and that corporations follow necessary protocols proactively.
“The overall evidence suggests there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.”
Source: National Cancer Institute (NIH)2
A critical step towards holding corporations accountable is ensuring they are transparent about the risks associated with their products. In the case of asbestos, for example, today companies must disclose that they use asbestos in their products and make the public aware of the resulting risks. There is also a ton of media drawing attention to the potential for health-related consequences. Similarly, the tobacco industry is required to place a Surgeon General’s warning on product labeling. Yet, still more can be done.
There are also legal avenues for holding corporations accountable for their actions. For example, victims of asbestos exposure can file lawsuits against the companies responsible for their exposure, seeking compensation for their medical expenses and other damages. Similarly, victims of tobacco-related illnesses have filed lawsuits against tobacco companies, alleging that they were misled about the risks of smoking.
In conclusion, the Ohio train disaster serves as a reminder of the importance of safety regulations and corporate responsibility. Whether it is the transportation of hazardous materials or the use of dangerous products like asbestos and tobacco, corporations must prioritize safety over profits. When they fail to do so, they put public health and safety at risk and must be held accountable.
By advocating for stronger regulations and company accountability, we can work towards a safer and healthier future for everyone.
For Justinian C. Lane, getting compensation for asbestos victims is personal.
Justinian’s grandparents and his father all worked with asbestos in their younger years and died from asbestos-related cancers in their later years.
At the time of each of their deaths, no one in Justinian’s family knew that they were eligible to file an asbestos lawsuit and to seek compensation from the asbestos trusts.
Because no one in Justinian’s family knew their options, they never received any compensation for the death of their loved ones.
If you believe that you or your family member’s injury was related to asbestos exposure, you could be entitled to significant compensation.
This is money you could use to cover the costs of asbestos removal services, pay for medical treatment, and preemptively protect your physical well-being.
There are also asbestos trusts that offer compensation much more quickly and easily (without filing a lawsuit.)
If you’d like help with filing a claim, please get in touch by email at [email protected], or call or text us at (833) 4-ASBESTOS (427-2378) or (206) 455-9190. We’ll listen to your story and explain your options. And we never charge for anything unless you receive money in your pocket.
In addition to legal claims, veterans disability, social security and employment protection like workers compensation, FELA and The Jones Act for maritime workers, there are asbestos trusts that have been set up to compensate those harmed by asbestos without having to file a lawsuit.
There is no risk or cost to speak with one of our staff about your asbestos litigation. There are no fees unless you receive money.
If you have any additional questions or concerns related to asbestos, check out our website and YouTube page for videos, infographics and answers to your questions about asbestos, including health and safety, asbestos testing, removing asbestos from your home and building, and legal information about compensation for asbestos injuries.
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W.A.R.D., which stands for the Worldwide Asbestos Research Database, helps clients to narrow down when and where they may have been exposed, as well as which products may still contain asbestos. W.A.R.D. will also help indicate compensation types and how much a person may be entitled to.
McDaniel PA, Malone RE. Tobacco industry and public health responses to state and local efforts to end tobacco sales from 1969-2020. PLoS One. 2020 May 22;15(5):e0233417. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0233417. PMID: 32442202; PMCID: PMC7244130.
Risk assessment of hazardous materials transportation: A review of research progress in the last thirty years, Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering (English Edition), Vol. 9, Issue 4, 2022, Pages 571-590, ISSN 2095-7564, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtte.2022.01.004.
1 National Cancer Institute (NIH), Asbestos Fact Sheet.
2 National Cancer Institute (NIH), Asbestos Fact Sheet.