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California county fined for asbestos OSHA violation

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration exposure to asbestos can cause delayed disease or damage to organs and lungs of a person who breathes it in. This has the potential to lead to permanent disabilities, cancer or even death, which could instigated an OSHA violation when employees are not protected adequately. Because of this toxic risk, regulations and classifications have been put in place to protect workers from exposure and injury. Recently, a California county fined for asbestos OSHA violation is accused of a less than suitable response to possible exposure to a highly toxic compound by many employees.

The asbestos incident in question occurred when the ceiling in an administration building for the county collapsed from a water leak, raining down debris and elements of the toxic compound. Safety inspectors believe that the ventilation system continued to run, possibly exposing people inside and outside of the building to the toxic carcinogen. Reports from the California division of OSHA, who cited for the infraction, state that employees were not trained to handle the asbestos, and the legal responsibility to report the accident to OSHA was never made by the county. The possible risk for disease and illness that hundreds of employees face may be stressful and surface many questions.

The failure to maintain a safe working environment can result in legal action. Close to 230 employees may have been exposed, and continue to look for answers on levels of exposure and if they were even exposed at all. Additional companies and workers who are nearby are asking the same questions. OSHA has not released this information, as the investigation is ongoing. Employees who may have inhaled asbestos may be rightfully entitled to benefits to aid with injury and medical costs they may experience.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim that even limited exposure to asbestos can cause serious illnesses, and as inhalation increases, the amount of probable damage does too. Reports highlight that safety inspectors and administrators of the building share different stories as to what purportedly happened after the collapse, although research may prove the existence of asbestos. A California county fined for asbestos OSHA violation may be liable if the analysis finds them liable for failure to maintain a safe working environment.

Source:, Cal-OSHA fines Sacramento County for asbestos incident, Brad Branan, Sept. 28, 2013

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