Minnesota readers may have heard about an investigation of a West Coast company that was recently conducted. The investigators discovered that a company that was paid and trusted to teach others how to properly remove and dispose of asbestos was not fulfilling its obligations. In some cases, workers received no asbestos abatement training at all, let alone any follow-up training. The company not only did a disservice to the workers, but also to the communities in which they would be working.
It turns out that this company is not the only one in the country that is not properly training people to deal with asbestos. Without the proper training, workers are most likely inhaling the toxic fibers every time they are at a job site. To make matters worse, the fibers and dust may be released into the open air causing a hazard to the public.
In some cases, workers that were actually not certified were conducting inspections of places like schools and hospitals and saying they were free from asbestos. The toxic material was outlawed because once the fibers are inhaled, they can cause a lung disease called mesothelioma, which is deadly. Many people who contract the disease have been exposed to asbestos for a long time, but even minimal exposure can lead to medical complications.
The asbestos abatement training industry needs to be more closely regulated in order to ensure the safety of the workers and the public. No one in Minnesota or anywhere else in the country should have to worry about being diagnosed with mesothelioma because the workers sent in to remove the asbestos where the live, work or send their children were not properly trained. However, should the worst happen, it is possible to file a lawsuit against the party or parties deemed responsible for an individual’s exposure. A successfully litigated claim could lead to an award of damages for pain and suffering, medical costs and more.
Source: columbian.com, “Tacoma firm owners admit fraud in asbestos-removal training“, Craig Welch, May 5, 2014