Over a million construction workers are currently exposed to asbestos that can lead to conditions including asbestosis, where small fibers cause scarring in the lungs making it increasingly difficult to breath. Asbestos exposure can also result in the disease of malignant mesothelioma, a cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, heart, and abdomen which has a very poor prognosis. Many who work in construction are unaware of the health risks they face when exposed to asbestos, as signs of lung injury may take as long as 40 years to develop.
High rates of exposure occur in workers who produce or work with products made from asbestos and those who work in buildings that contain asbestos. Because asbestos is resistant to heat, corrosion and chemicals, it has been used in many untold products such as pipe insulation, building materials, and floor tiles. Construction workers are at a higher risk of exposure because renovating, repairing or tearing down buildings with asbestos is often part to the job.
To reduce the risk to workers particularly in the construction industry, OSHA has developed specific standards requiring employers to provide personal exposure monitoring to assess the risk and provide hazard awareness training for operations where there is any potential exposure to asbestos. Employers must ensure that airborne levels of asbestos do not exceed legal worker exposure limits and further protect workers by establishing regulated areas, controlling certain work practices, and instituting engineering controls to reduce the airborne levels. Ongoing medical monitoring of workers is required when legal limits and exposure times are exceeded.
If an employee is injured at work after exposure to an asbestos, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation through their employer. Iowa workers’ compensation statute of limitations requires that workers’ comp claims be initiated within a two year window of the date the employee discovered, or should have reasonably discovered, his/her injury for which benefits are being claimed. Because workers suffering from mesothelioma may not know for years that they have the disease, it is important to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney if you suspect or have been diagnosed with mesothelioma disease.
If third party manufactures, suppliers or contractors facilitated exposure to asbestos, a personal injury claim may be appropriate. An injured party and their attorney will work to prove that a third party’s negligence, wrongful act, or failure to warn caused their injury. For occupational asbestos injuries, someone who knowingly exposed a worker to a hazardous condition or a manufacture who failed to adequately warn of health risks associated with their product can be held legally responsible.
Construction Workers Have a High Risk of Asbestos Caused Mesothelioma
Contact an Experienced Iowa Work Inhalation Injury Lawyer For Help
If you or a family member has been exposed to a workplace hazard resulting in injury including construction workers risk of asbestos caused mesothelioma, contact the personal injury law & workers compensation attorneys of Stoltzes and Stoltz for immediate help at 515-244-1473.