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Asbestos, lead danger raise workers' compensation, safety issues

Many Maryland workers are aware of the serious health hazards associated with asbestos, lead and other compounds associated with building remediation and development. Although these substances have been identified as critical hazards for years, some companies are still ignoring safety precautions needed to keep their workers safe. Several workers in New York, for example, may be eligible for workers' compensation after they were exposed to these dangerous substances at a construction site.

Official reports from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration allege that Olivet Management willfully exposed its workers to asbestos and lead by failing to take even fundamental safety precautions. Unsafe working conditions occurred because the company did not notify employees or contractors that asbestos and lead were present at a building site; the company was aware that both hazards existed. Olivet thus failed to train workers about the dangers of lead and asbestos. Exposure levels were not monitored, and respiratory protection was not provided. Workers also lacked changing facilities to ensure that they did not track lead and asbestos home to their families and young children. Lead exposure can cause serious developmental problems for children.

Olivet is facing a whopping $2,359,000 in fines from OSHA after an investigation into the situation. Inspectors identified 45 willful violations. Those citations indicate that the company knowingly and intentionally exposed workers to unsafe working conditions without providing hazard remediation. One serious citation was also included in that list.

Maryland workers deserve to be notified when they are handling dangerous substances. They also should be provided with appropriate protective equipment to prevent contamination and workplace illness. Those who have suffered because of asbestos or lead exposure may be entitled to financial compensation. A Maryland attorney may provide additional information about obtaining damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering and a variety of other civil claims.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "Olivet Management faces $2.3M in OSHA fines for knowingly exposing workers to asbestos and lead at NY work site" Ted Fitzgerald and Andre J. Bowser, Apr. 02, 2014

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