Did you know that under Section 763.93 of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulations, asbestos-containing materials in buildings must always be properly managed to prevent asbestos exposure? If an employer does not follow this section to the letter, you may be entitled to compensation.

Despite regulatory bans, asbestos remains a prevalent concern in workplaces across the country,[1] affecting a wide range of industries and even non-industrial settings such as offices, hotels, and residential homes. With nearly every building constructed prior to the mid-1980s likely containing asbestos, it’s crucial to be aware of the legal obligations and potential health risks associated with this hidden threat.

This article sheds light on what you should do if you find yourself in a workplace with asbestos, offering essential guidance on protecting your health and understanding your legal rights.

Making Sure – Is It Really Asbestos?

While you don’t need to personally verify the presence of asbestos in your workplace, being aware of certain signs can help you make an informed decision about whether or not your workplace may have asbestos-containing materials.

Remember that it’s crucial to prioritize your safety above all else. If you suspect asbestos, your immediate action should be to vacate the premises and seek professional assistance to confirm its presence.[2] Here are some signs that might indicate the presence of asbestos:

1. Age of the Building.

Buildings constructed before the mid-1980s are more likely to contain asbestos-containing materials, as asbestos was widely used in construction during that period. If your workplace is in an older building, it’s wise to be cautious.

2. Visible Deterioration.

Crumbling, damaged, or deteriorating insulation, ceiling tiles, or flooring materials could indicate the presence of asbestos. Asbestos-containing materials may become friable over time, releasing fibers into the air.

3. Unusual Dust or Debris.

If you notice an unusual amount of dust or debris in your workplace, especially in areas where renovations or repairs have occurred, it may be a cause for concern. Asbestos fibers can become airborne when disturbed.

4. Discolored or Stained Materials.

Stains or discoloration on ceiling tiles, pipes, or other building materials might be a sign of water damage, which can lead to the release of fibers if asbestos-containing materials are present.

5. Verbal Confirmation:

Sometimes, co-workers or management might inform you of the presence of asbestos-containing materials due to their own knowledge or prior assessments. Take such information seriously and follow safety protocols.

It’s important to emphasize that if you see any of these signs or have any suspicions about asbestos, your next steps should not involve further investigation on your own. Instead, follow these guidelines:

·        Evacuate Immediately: Leave the area if you suspect asbestos contamination. Your health and safety should always be the top priority.

·        Call Professionals: Contact an asbestos abatement professionals who is trained to handle asbestos safely. They will conduct thorough testing to confirm the presence of asbestos and take appropriate measures to mitigate the risk.

·        Medical Evaluation: If you believe you may have been exposed to asbestos, consult a healthcare professional for a medical evaluation. Early detection and intervention can make a significant difference in managing asbestos-related health issues.

·        Legal Implications: If asbestos exposure is confirmed, it’s important to consider the legal implications. Depending on the circumstances, your employer may be subject to fines for negligence. If you suspect that your exposure was due to employer negligence, consult with an attorney who specializes in workplace safety and asbestos-related cases.

·        Report the Incident: Ensure that the incident is officially documented. This documentation can be essential if you need to pursue legal action or workers’ compensation claims.

If, after reporting, the test is positive for asbestos, it’s key to have a certified asbestos abatement company remove it safely. This is because doing so improperly can allow asbestos fibers to become airborne. It can then contaminate people removing it and those in the vicinity, which is extremely harmful for their health.

Furthermore, if asbestos has become airborne, it may not be removed completely, hence being a danger even after clean up. In fact, breaking up or damaging even encapsulated asbestos can be more dangerous because it allows the fibers to remain suspended in the air. Here are some actionable tips to keep in mind:

Find a Certified Asbestos Abatement Team

It’s imperative to hire a certified asbestos abatement company to handle the removal process. These professionals are trained to safely contain, remove, and dispose of asbestos-containing materials, minimizing the risk of asbestos fiber release.[3]

Apart from health and human concerns, exposing people while removing asbestos can impose legal liability on the building owner and tenants like the business owner. This legal aspect is crucial to consider:

Liability for Exposure

Building owners and business operators have a legal responsibility to provide a safe environment for occupants. Failure to do so can result in legal action if someone is harmed due to asbestos exposure on their property.

Health Monitoring & Compensation

Occupational exposure to asbestos can lead to severe health consequences, including asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma and lung cancer. Here’s what to do if you’ve been exposed:

Health Evaluation

If you suspect asbestos exposure, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional. They can assess your condition and check for signs of asbestos-related diseases, including scarring on your lungs.

Compensación

If you’ve been harmed by asbestos, there are treatments available, and compensation opportunities to help with medical bills and other costs. These may include lost wages and medical expenses, as well as compensation for pain and suffering.

Asbestos Compensation Opportunities

Some people may qualify for asbestos compensation without filing a lawsuit. This compensation can provide financial support for those who have suffered due to asbestos exposure. Even lifelong smokers can often qualify for asbestos compensation, as smoking can exacerbate asbestos-related health issues.

Deciding which asbestos claims are available may depend on where and when you were exposed to asbestos. To explore your legal options and understand the compensation opportunities available to you, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced asbestos attorney who can provide guidance tailored to your specific circumstances and help you navigate the complexities of asbestos-related legal claims.

Navigating Asbestos with Knowledge & Action

In the presence of asbestos, awareness and a swift response are your best defenses. This article has shed light on vital steps to take when facing the potential dangers of asbestos in your workplace.

Remember, you’re not alone in this. By taking actionable steps and seeking the necessary support, you can protect your health and rights in the face of asbestos exposure. Safety is paramount, and addressing asbestos risks is a collective responsibility. For expert guidance, contact AsbestosClaims.law.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6321947/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4985074/

[3] https://ehs.washington.edu/workplace/asbestos-and-other-regulated-building-materials