A recent report issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration shows just devastating a workplace injury or illness can be to the individuals and families affected. An investigation into these injuries conducted National Public Radio and ProPublica found that severe injuries and illnesses send a huge percentage of lower and middle class workers into poverty. The studies highlight the impact of an attack on worker's compensation payments in a number of states. Since 2004, 33 states have made changes to the law that make it harder for workers who are injured or become sick at work to get financial assistance.
The fact that microscopic asbestos fibers caused mesothelioma and asbestos-lung cancer may have come as a shock generations ago, but scientists and safety regulators have known for decades that other airborne particulates carry the same risk. With substantial profits to be gained through the use of these products, however, there continues to be resistance to regulation -- or even to appropriate safety measures being taken.
A 69-year-old Kansas carpenter is dying of heart disease, diabetes and mesothelioma. Doctors say he has only months to live. This week, a jury in Madison County is tasked with determining whether his mesothelioma was caused by his use of drywall joint compounds manufactured by Georgia Pacific -- and whether that company is therefore responsible for his illness.
The State of Maryland’s highest court ruled recently that Georgia-Pacific Corp. does not have to pay a woman who lost a lung to mesothelioma the $5 million a lower court had ordered. Why? Although the asbestos that sickened her was clearly from Georgia-Pacific products, her exposure was second-hand and took place in the 1960s, before the full danger of second-hand exposure was confirmed, the court said. Therefore, she had no legitimate product liability claim against the corporate giant.
Asbestos-related diseases are not merely relics from the old days when the fiber was used in everything from coffee makers and hair dryers to pipe gaskets, floor leveling compounds and bonding agents. In many industries asbestos-containing materials are still in active use today.
Certain occupations put workers at greater risk than others. Most people working in dangerous jobs probably realize the health hazards present in their workplaces. While there are safety practices that workers can follow to make the workplace safer, employers are also responsible for maintaining a safe workplace environment for their workers.
An Illinois company has been fined over $1.2 million by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration for its alleged violations of OSHA asbestos regulations. According to the citations, OSHA opened a Severe Violators Enforcement Program case against AMD Industries Inc. after the agency found that the company was disposing of asbestos products and materials without making the necessary efforts to protect its employees or the general public.