OSHA and Modern Asbestos Regulations
The use of asbestos for relatively modern industrial purposes dates back over a century, though partial knowledge of its dangers has existed for thousands of years. Despite concerns raised by medical doctors and scientists in the early 20th century, the asbestos industry avoided serious regulation for decades. Though laws like the Clean Air Act of 1970 did help reduce the use of asbestos , obstacles to stricter asbestos regulation were present as late as the 1990s, when an appeals court struck down an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation known as the Asbestos Ban and Phase Out rule.
Today, asbestos use and exposure is regulated by several government agencies, including the EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, otherwise known as OSHA.
Though virtually anyone can be exposed to asbestos, workers in industries such as construction, mining, and shipbuilding are particularly at risk. Furthermore, the families of these workers are also at risk from secondary exposure if precautionary measures are not taken.
According to OSHA, steps which can be taken to prevent excessive exposure to mesothelioma-causing asbestos include:
- Limiting the time that workers spend working with or around asbestos
- Separating asbestos-heavy areas from the majority of the workforce
- Installing effective ventilation systems in and around asbestos
- Providing workers with approved protective gear and clothing
- Providing workers with showers to remove asbestos after work
- Educating workers and administrators about the dangers of asbestos
Exposure to asbestos, even in small amounts and over a short period of time, can cause a deadly cancer known as mesothelioma. In some cases, mesothelioma can take years to show up after exposure to asbestos, but can often kill within 6-12 months of diagnosis. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a current or former employer may be at fault. Contact a mesothelioma lawyer at Williams Kherkher to learn more about your legal options. Call 800-781-3955 today.