Asbestos and Accidents Put Construction Workers in Harm’s Way

The tragic death last week of a construction worker at the San Francisco 49ers’ new football stadium highlights the dangers of the construction industry, historically one of the most hazardous of workplaces.

According to CBS Sports, the 63-year-old man was killed by an elevator counterweight as he labored in an elevator shaft at Levi’s Stadium. Well-known hazards such as falls kill hundreds of American construction workers every year, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). But there is another danger on construction sites that is just as deadly to workers — asbestos.

Thought to be a problem of the past, asbestos remains a serious health threat to workers in the construction trades today because it was used in thousands of building products during the 20th century. When asbestos-containing materials such as insulation, fibrous cement, and floor adhesive are cut, sawed, sanded, or otherwise disturbed, microscopic asbestos fibers are released into the air where they can be inhaled or swallowed if safety standards are not enforced.

Exposure to asbestos is the cause of mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer. Although its use has been restricted, asbestos remains legal in the United States and certain products still contain it. As this blog noted, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that 2.3 million pounds (or 1,060 metric tons) of asbestos were imported into the U.S. from Brazil in 2012. Forty-one percent of the imported asbestos went into roofing materials.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and believe you were exposed to asbestos, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To learn more about your legal options including filing an asbestos lawsuit, contact Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation.