While a Michigan public school district considers the impact of a fine for violating asbestos regulations, district employees are wondering whether their employers’ actions have put them at risk for malignant mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. This issue was raised after the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) revealed that the school district had exposed multiple employees and contractors to the carcinogenic material without providing them with any notification or protection.
Employees exposed to asbestos without warning
The school where employees were exposed to the risk of malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases is the North Park Montessori School, which is a part of the Grand Rapids Public School District. The site was inspected by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration after that agency was informed that there were potential asbestos violations taking place. That inspection confirmed the reports, and the agency issued five separate citations, including the following violations of the state’s asbestos regulations:
- Failure to alert all contractors who were working on or near areas that contained asbestos-contaminated materials to the fact that the asbestos was there and posed a risk.
- Failure to alert their own employees who were responsible for cleanup in the building that it contained asbestos-contaminated materials, or of the risk that it posed.
- Failure to provide employees who were responsible for cleanup in the building with asbestos awareness training.
- Failure to make arrangements for asbestos-containing waste, debris and dust to be cleaned up and disposed of.
- Failure to use a project designer who was properly accredited for asbestos-related work to be in charge of the work in the building.
$11,900 fine does not address risks to employees
While the school district consults with its attorneys regarding how to address the proposed civil penalty of $11,900, those who worked for the contractors and the school’s housekeeping staff have their own considerations, including whether to take action against the school district for their failure to provide them with appropriate warning or protections from asbestos, the material that causes malignant mesothelioma.
If like the Michigan employees, you were unknowingly exposed to asbestos and sickened as a result, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Call us at 1-800-692-8608.