The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 1.3 million workers go to a workplace with significant asbestos levels every day.
Asbestos is something that many people have heard about, but very few understand. Unfortunately, extended exposure to it is something that can have dire health consequences. If you ever suspect that your health is suffering from exposure to asbestos at work, your best option is speaking with a work injury lawyer and seeing if you have good reason to make a workers’ compensation claim. To decide whether or not you are at risk, read the basics on asbestos below.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a fibrous substance that has a variety of industrial uses. The reason it is so popular is that it is naturally heat and flame resistant. While this substance can be found in nature at low levels, it is often used by humans in excess. When asbestos levels become excessive, there are many health consequences.
The health effects of asbestos can be broken down into two basic categories: Short term and long term. The ailments and diseases that come from them are as follows:
Short Term – When asbestos is inhaled for only a short amount of time, it can still have some health consequences. These include minor lung problems like shortness of breath, coughing, and general breathing problems.
Long Term – When an employee experiences long-term exposure, the health effects significantly worsen. They are at risk of a variety of cancers including lung, gastrointestinal, and mesothelioma.
Industries At Risk
While the following industries are not always unsafe, they do see higher than average cases of excessive asbestos exposure. They are: construction, mining, manufacturing, roofing, auto repairs, and paper mills.
If you are exposed to asbestos at your workplace, your employer is obligated to carry out a few necessary protection policies. Those may include additional training, proper ventilation, monitoring of asbestos levels, or providing medical examinations. Additionally, an employer might be expected to provide protective equipment. Examples of this are respirators, goggles, face shields, gloves, and more.
One thing that every workers’ compensation lawyer knows is that when an ailment comes from long-term exposure, it is often harder to obtain benefits. The reason for this is lack of visible proof. Sometimes, when an employee seeks compensation for an injury that takes a long time to develop, they will be rejected because they cannot prove their workplace is at fault. This is often the case with asbestos exposure. Given the complexity of a situation like this, we recommend hiring a lawyer to ensure you get the best deal possible.
Sometimes, workplace diseases are given less concern and respect because they take a long time to develop. It is true that asbestos exposure is not as visible as something acute like a broken arm, but the consequences that come from it can be much worse. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of asbestos exposure or work in an industry that is at risk, it is time to consult a doctor and a Kansas City Workers Compensation Lawyer. Give the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann a call 24/7 at (816) 399-3706.