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An asbestos related workplace injury can cause severe illness

Colorado workers on job sites where asbestos is present are exposed to severe health hazards. Asbestos can cause a workplace injury that may lead to mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis or lung cancer. When asbestos breaks or crumbles, sharp-edged particles become airborne and can be inhaled by workers. These fragments will stick to the soft tissue of their respiratory systems. This is not restricted to the workplace as the rigid fibers can stick to the clothing of workers and be carried home to endanger their families and others in similar ways.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently cited a company in another state for its continued disregard of safety regulations related to asbestos. OSHA determined that the serious violations included the failure to advise workers of the presence of asbestos and failure to provide training to equip employees with the ability to recognize asbestos hazards and know how to avoid exposure. Furthermore, the company failed to post warning signs in confined spaces where workers were exposed to high levels of asbestos.

OSHA revealed that this company has a record of exposing its workers to known asbestos hazards. In 2011, 20 serious violation citations were issued for similar violations, and less than six months later, OSHA cited the company again. On that occasion, OSHA once again found workers in areas where asbestos was present, and the company also failed to have a copy of OSHA's Asbestos Standard available for workers.

Workers in Colorado who are suffering the consequences of asbestos exposure will likely have to face long-term medical treatment and associated expenses. Any workplace injury or illness allows a worker to pursue a claim for workers' compensation benefits. An occupational illness often only becomes apparent after some time, and proving that it is job-related may require the assistance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "OSHA: Franklin Park metal company didn't tell workers about asbestos", Mark Lawton, April 2, 2015

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