Employers in the US, whether from the private or government sector, are obliged provide their employees with a safe and healthy work environment to significantly reduce, if not totally eliminate, occurrences of accidents in the workplace. This duty is base on the mandate of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, a federal law that was enacted by the US Congress in 1970. The Act requires the assurance for a safe and healthy working environment for all employees, the conduction of training in the area of occupational health and safety, and the provision of vital information, research and education on the same area.
In 1971the Occupational Safety and Health Act or OSH Act gave birth, in turn, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is tasked to fully and strictly implement all the safety standards mandated by the Act, such as a workplace free from mechanical dangers, excessive level of noise, heat or cold stress, exposure to toxic chemicals, poisonous gases, radiation, unsanitary conditions, and other hazards.
The Hazard Communication Standard or HCS, is another mandate that OSHA enforces. This federal mandate, which was passed into law in 1980 and took effect in 1986, gives those exposed to hazardous chemicals in the work area the right to be informed about the type of danger they are exposed to and how they can protect themselves from such danger.
The HCS, also known as the Right-to-Know law or the Worker Right-to-Know Legislation, also requires manufacturers and importers to attach Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and warning labels on all their hazardous products. And, besides indicating on the label that a product is poisonous or hazardous, there should also be information on the product’s safe storage suggestions, potential health effects, precautions for use, emergency first aid instructions, and contact numbers for further information.
On its website, Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, explains that each type of work environment presents a unique set of safety risks; thus, employers should take full responsibility in implementing the necessary measures that will prevent accidents from occurring. Anticipation of potential problems through risk assessment, safety training, provision of the necessary protective equipment, installation of safety barriers and so forth, are just few of the precautions that ought to be observed inside work premises. While OSHA maintains that accidents can be avoided, this will only be possible if owners of firms and their managers observe government safety standards, and the employees follow company safety rules.Read More
People typically associate exposure to toxic substances with things that carry disease such as the flu, a flesh-eating virus, or one that will turn you into a zombie. But a substance does not have to be infectious to be harmful to the health.
One of the best examples of a seemingly benign substance having harmful health effects are fiber-related diseases. These types of diseases include byssinosis, (brown lung disease related to industries dealing with cotton) and coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (black lung disease). These are occupational lung diseases that result from chronic inhalation of very small particles of otherwise harmless substances, which then collect in the lung and eventually lead to respiratory failure and death.
Exposure to asbestos can cause people to suffer from serious illness in the same way, but the difference is that asbestos exposure is not confined to workers in industries that handle the substance. Chronic asbestos exposure can occur in the home, the workplace, and in public areas. Because it had so many useful applications in the past before it was discovered to be toxic, you could be exposed to it without knowing it, such as from old electrical wiring or insulation.
Asbestos is a silicate material that occurs in nature and the fibers are very fine. Mining and manufacturing of asbestos is no longer carried out, but it is nevertheless in the air and water in the area where deposits are located. The health effects of naturally occurring asbestos are not proven but studies indicate that there could be a correlation between NOA exposure and mesothelioma. As pointed out on the website of law firm Williams Kherkher, mesothelioma is known to be caused by exposure to asbestos.
Liability for exposure to asbestos will become an issue when it is preventable i.e. failure to follow regulations for the proper disposal of asbestos-containing material. If you are injured from exposure to asbestos due to the carelessness or negligence of a third party, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to find out your legal options.Read More