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Maryland asbestos removal companies the subject of pending legislation

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has issued regulations mandating certain safety practices for many types of businesses, including asbestos removal companies. Accordingly, injured employees may not only file a workers' compensation claim for any asbestos-related injuries, but also file a lawsuit alleging serious and willful misconduct if the business violated these strict OSHA regulations.

Interestingly, several states have recently made asbestos safety a legislative priority.

To illustrate, Maryland businesses involved in the removal or abatement of asbestos need to be aware of pending legislation that could affect the way they do business. This proposed legislation is expected to apply even to those companies who act as a staffing business, providing employees to contractors or subcontractors involved with asbestos abatement.

Currently, any Maryland business may be subject to a maximum fine of $5,000 for a violation of environmental laws regarding asbestos removal. The proposed legislation would seek to increase those penalties to a maximum of $25,000.

In addition, the bills would also add protections for workers who handle asbestos, and establish an Asbestos Worker Protection Fund.

If enacted, this new law would aim to level the competition among asbestos abatement businesses.

It has been argued that while many asbestos removal companies do comply with federal regulations and OSHA standards, there are some that have cut corners. The concern here is that some of these cost-cutting measures have given an unfair advantage to certain businesses, while leaving employees with less protections, both financially and physically.

If this proposed legislation is signed into law, it may start a trend among the states of holding asbestos abatement companies to even higher safety standards. If this proves to be true, it will be necessary for such employers to ensure that they do not expose themselves to potential liability.

Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense law ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Source:

The Baltimore Sun, "Health complaint filed against asbestos removal company" March 16, 2012

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