The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is a division of the U.S. Department of Labor that is tasked with ensuring safe and healthy conditions that protect workers from injury and illnesses like malignant mesothelioma. Through the years the agency has established numerous safeguards and rules specifically surrounding the treatment of asbestos, a material that is blamed for tens of thousands of deaths and illnesses globally each year, but many contractors fail to comply with these rules in an effort to save time and money. A recent investigation by OSHA in the state of Missouri determined that two Kansas City-based contractors tasked with doing rehabilitation work at Kansas State University’s Hale Library failed to adhere to asbestos removal standards, putting their employees and the public at risk.
As a result of their failure to follow the rules, Belfor Property Restoration and their subcontractor Custom Crushing & Company may have put their own employees and the employees of the library at risk for malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. The two were cited for a total of 26 serious health violations, including eposing employees to asbestos, failing to provide personal protective clothing or respiratory protection, failing to train their workers about the dangers of asbestos, failure to properly dispose of the carcinogenic material and waste, and more. They also failed to let others in the vicinity, including the building’s owner and their employees, about the presence of dangerous asbestos in the air.
As a result of the seriousness of the violations and concerns about the risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, the two companies are facing proposed penalties totaling over $200,000. According to OSHA Wichita Area Director Ryan Hodge, “Asbestos is a well-known health hazard that can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other life-threatening illnesses. Employers working in the restoration industry are required to remediate asbestos hazards to ensure workers are adequately protected.”
The lack of concern shown by these contractors is similar to that displayed by the asbestos companies that have been responsible for so many mesothelioma deaths. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and you need information about your rights, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.