Older buildings require cleaning, disinfecting and repairs to comply with federal health and safety standards. As noted by the U.S. Department of Labor, workers may discover asbestos hazards in broken floor tiles or insulated pipes.
The Environmental Protection Agency forbids the use of materials containing asbestos in new construction. Buildings constructed before 1989 may, however, contain dangerous amounts of toxic substances. Workers and residents still face risks of asbestos exposure because of older materials.
Broken material brings risks of asbestos exposure
When materials containing asbestos become damaged, they may release it into the air. Employees working near broken building components may have contact with hazardous airborne asbestos.
As noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, materials containing asbestos include ceiling tiles, cement and roofing shingles. Continuous exposure may lead to an illness, a disability or death. Symptoms may not begin to develop for several years.
Georgia employees exposed to clouds of asbestos dust
As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a cleaning crew hired by a Georgia prison found loose floor tiles in the facility’s medical unit. Test results showed the tiles contained asbestos. The prison’s management, however, failed to notify employees of the asbestos exposure.
Health care workers began complaining. Clouds of dust appeared whenever someone buffed the tiled floor. Management claimed a wax coating effectively contained the asbestos. A nurse, however, continued to experience respiratory problems. She began documenting her health issues.
Asbestos exposure may result in life-threatening diseases such as lung cancer. Georgia’s buildings constructed between the 1940s and 1970s most likely contain asbestos. Contact with the substance’s airborne particles may cause serious medical conditions. Affected employees have a right to obtain relief.