Construction Industry Workers are Vulnerable to Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos Exposure

Any oncologist can tell you with confidence: the construction industry is plagued is asbestos exposure. Asbestos was used to manufacture construction materials because of its tensile strength and ability to resist heat and insulate electrical surfaces. In fact, asbestos at one point in history was praised for its ability to make buildings safer, which is why it’s found on many properties built before 1980.

OSHA regulations are detailed and specific about the removal and inspection for asbestos. In fact, the EPA requires testing of buildings for asbestos under the Asbestos National Emissions Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), if they were made before 1980. When asbestos is detected on someone’s property, it has to be quarantined by approved asbestos abatement methods and moved/disposed of in airtight containers.

The Danger of Asbestos

Asbestos is a category of naturally occurring soft minerals that are naturally resistant to heat, conductivity, and other properties. When an asbestos containing material (ACM) is damaged or erodes away, it releases microscopic fibers into the air. Asbestos fibers can easily be inhaled into a person’s lungs, where they lodge into and damage the sack-like cells of the lungs called alveoli. After a while, lung damage caused by asbestos causes mesothelioma and asbestosis; both diseases have various symptoms including:

  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Chest or abdomen pain
  • Fever
  • Fluid buildup around the lungs
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tumors
  • Hardening of the pleura (thin lining surrounding the lungs)

Damage caused by asbestos builds over time, and could take decades to develop mesothelioma. Furthermore, asbestos can linger in the air for a relatively long time, which may put other people nearby is serious danger. Asbestos fibers can also travel on a worker’s clothes, which puts anybody who is in close contact with him in danger, even if it’s been awhile since that worker has been near asbestos.

If You’ve Been Exposed to Asbestos

If you have a reasonable suspicion that you’ve been exposed to asbestos, inform your supervisor immediately. Under OSHA regulations, “The employer is required to institute a medical surveillance program for all employees who are or will be exposed to asbestos at or above the permissible exposure limit (0.1 fiber per cubic centimeter of air). All examinations and procedures must be performed by or under the supervision of a licensed physician, at a reasonable time and place, and at no cost to the employee.” (OSHA Standards, 1910 Subpart Z, 1910.1001, Appendix H).

Your health should always be your top priority, and the top priority of your employer. When you are examined by a doctor, make sure to keep any documentation that shows you were exposed to asbestos and any bills that you had to pay. Following the doctor’s visit, try to collect as much evidence and records as possible that shows you were exposed to asbestos, if anyone else knew asbestos was present at your workplace, and any records of expenses you had like lost time off work, medical bills, or even a journal of your process after exposure.

Contact an asbestos injury lawyer as soon as possible. Asbestos injury lawyers give free consultations and should have years of experience aiding victims of mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. The longer you wait to talk with a lawyer after discovering you were exposed to asbestos, the more difficult it will be to build your case. Once you’ve talked with an asbestos injury lawyer, you should turn over the records you’ve collected. An experienced asbestos injury lawyer will know exactly how to use the evidence you’ve provided, as well as the evidence they will gather on their own, to ensure you’re given a fair settlement for your damages.

Don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer questions. When meeting with a potential asbestos injury lawyer, it would be wise to ask how long he has been practicing law, representing asbestos and mesothelioma victims, and what type of settlements and court awards his clients have been awarded in the past. An experienced asbestos injury lawyer will should focus a significant part of his practice in this field.

Zac Pingle About Zac Pingle

Zac Pingle was born in Florida, and grew up in several places across the United States. From a young age, Zac developed a taste for writing, reading under trees and getting into trouble. Currently, Zac resides in Oregon as a college student where he aspires to become an English professor.