Construction workers, automotive workers and maintenance workers face a variety of hazards every day, from working with heavy machinery and dangerous tools to falls from heights to exposure to toxic chemicals. One particular hazard that those in the construction industry in Chicago may face is exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, even a small amount of exposure to asbestos could lead to fatal diseases.
First, let’s go over what exactly asbestos is. Asbestos is natural mineral that was widely used in certain products such as insulation, automotive brakes, tiles and other building products. Workers often encounter asbestos when demolishing or renovating a building, doing repairs to a building, repairing motor vehicles and working in factories that manufacture products that contain asbestos.
Asbestos is an extremely hazardous material. When a worker breathes in asbestos fibers, it can create scar-like tissue in the individual’s lungs. This condition could eventually become fatal. In addition, asbestos inhalation can lead to cancer, mesothelioma, tumors and other fatal lung disorders. No amount of asbestos is safe to breathe in — even a brief exposure could lead to a fatal disease.
It is important that workers who may be exposed to asbestos are provided with the proper protective equipment, that their health is monitored by a physician and that the proper engineering controls are in place. The unfortunate fact, however, is that some employers will fail to keep their employees safe from asbestos, leading to the employee’s death. When this happens, the employee’s loved ones may want to consult with an attorney familiar with Chicago work-related deaths to determine if they have any recourse per the law.