Families of Workers Who have been Exposed to Asbestos are also in Danger of Developing Mesothelioma

Thirty years after she came in contact with asbestos, this now 36-year old woman from St. Paul, Minnesota is found to be with mesothelioma, a deadly cancer with no known cure.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral that was very widely used during late 19th and early 20th centuries. Workers who were regularly exposed to asbestos then included asbestos miners, and those who worked in manufacturing plants, power plants, construction sites, chemical plants, mills, railroads and shipyards, where thousands of enlisted personnel, especially from the US Navy were assigned.

Asbestos’ elasticity and resistance from heat rendered it a perfect fire retardant component in the production of thousands of different commercial and household products. Although perfectly useful, this mineral was discovered to release sharp fiber dusts which mixes easily with air, water and the food we eat. Once inside the body, these dusts accumulate in the lungs, scarring and damaging these over a period of time.

The surprising thing about the 36-year old woman diagnosed with mesothelioma was how she came in contact with asbestos. What she could remember was, when still aged six, she would always hug her father, a demolition worker, as soon as he arrived from work. Afterwards, she would put on and play with his dust and dirt-covered coat and shoes.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of malignant cancer that develops in the mesothelium, a lining that protects the internal organs, like the lungs, the heart, and the abdomen. One of the worst things about this malignant cancer that causes extreme pain is that it takes about 20 to 40 years to develop.

The owners and managers of the firms where mesothelioma victims previously worked knew about the dangers which exposure to asbesto would result to. Despite this, they chose to expose their workers to the deadly effects of asbestos for profit. Though many of these firms have already ceased operations, the government made sure that these were able to set up a Mesothelioma Compensation Trust Funds for the purpose of compensating workers whose lives and whose quality of living have been ruined.

According to the Williams Kherkher law firm, many more Americans may be at risk of developing mesothelioma due to the wide use of asbestos for a very long time. Though the effects of this cancer is irreversible, diagnosing the illness early on may help prolong the life span of the affected victim. Individuals who know or who think they have been exposed to asbestos (even during the early years of their lives) should never have second thoughts about approaching a doctor to have their medical condition checked.

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Potential Danger of Scaffolds

Long pieces of metal and wood laid scattered almost as long as a city block after a scaffolding collapse at an apartment complex that was under construction in downtown Houston in October of 2015. Of the 200 construction workers at the site, six were said to have been injured; they were immediately rushed to the nearest hospital.

The increasing number of high-rise construction jobs and the need to restore the aesthetic appearance of many old buildings in the US has also led to an increase in the number of workers who need to work on scaffolds to be able to reach the exteriors of tall buildings. In fact, more than a million construction workers are said to be working on scaffolds every day, which means more than a million lives always in danger.

Scaffolding is a provisional structure that is either suspended from above or supported from below. It is used to support workers and the materials they will use in the construction, repair and maintenance of man-made structures like buildings and bridges. Due to the many accidents (because of collapsing scaffolds) in the past, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an off-shoot of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970 and which is charged with the regulation and enforcement of the OSH Act mandate of creating a safe and healthy working environment for all employees, saw it fit to impose a standard on scaffoldings to reduce incidences of falls or scaffold collapse that lead to injuries or workers’ death.

The website of law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® says that the construction industry is one of the most dangerous career fields in the US; it is also very aware that accidents which injure construction workers can most likely result to a number of daunting consequences, such as loss of income, due to time spent in recovery and costly bills for medical treatment. This is why the firm strongly emphasizes the importance of an injured worker understanding his or her legal rights and options in seeking the compensation that he or she may have a legal right to receive.

Avoiding a work-related accident, which will save an employer additional expenses, such as higher Workers’ Compensation premiums, is totally possible, first by complying with OSHA safety standards, which includes using the right type of scaffolds based on the type of job to be accomplished, the materials to be loaded on these and the weather condition and, second, by double checking the structure, to make sure that it has been assembled firmly and properly.

Another law firm, the Abel Firm, explains in its website the importance of scaffolding in various types of construction projects, how it enables a construction crew to reach a tall building’s exterior levels which cannot be accessed by ladders. However, this structure will need to have good and strong material and should be assembled properly, otherwise, it will only put workers and bystanders at risk of serious injury.

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