The owners of a building and employers have a responsibility to make sure a property is safe for employees, tenants and visitors. This means that they must comply with state or federal safety regulations and they must deal with any hazards or violations in an appropriate manner. When a property owner does not take this responsibility seriously, people can get injured or sick. In many of these cases, it can be appropriate to file a premises liability claim.
People who work in construction are likely aware of the dangers of asbestos. The dangerous fiber was often used in everything from plumbing to insulation for decades. Many buildings still contain asbestos, and it is considered to be relatively harmless if it is undisturbed. However, construction and demolition projects often kick up this asbestos which is when it can be breathed in by workers. All too often, this exposure ends up causing serious and fatal health problems including mesothelioma.
One of the devastating realities associated with asbestos exposure is that it very rarely only affects one person. When asbestos is found in a building, which is very common considering the fact that the fiber was widely used in construction materials until the 1980s, many people have likely come into contact with it before anything is done to remedy the situation. Any number of builders, tenants, visitors and workers who have spent a substantial time in a building without proper protection from airborne asbestos can end up developing a devastating disease from this exposure.
Despite knowing for many years that exposure to asbestos can be deadly, reckless business and property owners do nothing to protect people from breathing in the toxic fibers. They do not have asbestos properly removed, they do not inform their workers or tenants of the asbestos or they neglect to provide them with proper protection from exposure. This negligence has put millions of people at risk of developing mesothelioma, asbestosis and other related diseases. Unfortunately, many people do not learn that they have been exposed to asbestos until decades later when they start showing symptoms.
Providing workers and residents with a safe environment is a duty that all property owners must take seriously. People should be able to expect that they will be given proper warnings if unsafe conditions exist and will be appropriately protected if there are hazardous conditions in place. This is certainly true when it comes to people work or live in a building that contains asbestos. In most cases, property owners or employers will make the responsible decision to have the toxic substance removed safety and by a certified abatement company.
We often hear stories about companies and property owners who are negligent when it comes to removing dangerous asbestos materials from a certain location. Many of them try to get away with cutting corners by trying to ignore the hazards associated with asbestos, or they hire unqualified workers to remove the asbestos-containing products. Too often, this negligence results in exposing unsuspecting people to a potentially fatal toxin. While they know they may face legal action down the road, including a premises liability lawsuit, they end up deciding to take the easy way out.
A recent study has shown that mesothelioma is common among members of military branches. In fact, it is routinely diagnosed in a high number of current and force military members every single year.
Recently, we have been discussing the dangers of asbestos exposure that men and women in the military faced for decades. Unfortunately, people are still being exposed to this cancer-causing fiber, despite the known risks associated with it. Allowing people to come into contact with asbestos, whether it was 40 years ago on a naval ship or just days ago on a construction site, is extremely negligent behavior.
Asbestos is an extremely toxic substance, exposure to which can cause a host of life threatening and health destroying diseases and injuries. In North Carolina, and elsewhere, this can result in the potential for significant premises liability. When property owners discover the presence of asbestos in buildings, particularly those being either torn down or remodeled, they often confront a dilemma--the relatively high cost of properly disposing of the asbestos in a way that is both legal and minimizes the risk of exposure both to work crews and to the surrounding community.
It should not be a huge surprise to property owners that they are responsible for maintaining a safe and hazard-free space. Property owners in North Carolina and elsewhere can garner civil penalties in a premises liability lawsuit if hazards on their property harm another person.