Massachusetts Report Takes Aim at Workplace Asbestos Exposure

by Sokolove Law

Asbestos exposure remains a significant workplace hazard in Massachusetts with more than 90 asbestos-related deaths reported in 2012, according to a new report released by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupation Safety and Health (MassCOSH).

Workplace hazards such as asbestos are the focus of “Dying for Work in Massachusetts: Loss of Life and Limb in Massachusetts Workplaces,” an annual report that highlights the human toll of occupational deaths and injuries.

As reported by Open Media Boston, asbestos is still legal in Massachusetts although its use is strictly regulated. However, when asbestos-containing materials are unwittingly or negligently disturbed during construction or demolition, microscopic asbestos fibers are released into the air where they can be easily inhaled or swallowed. Asbestos exposure can lead to a number of health problems including asbestosis and mesothelioma as well as lung, esophageal, gastrointestinal, laryngeal, and pharyngeal cancer.

Massachusetts workers risk of asbestos exposure and other workplace hazards due to lack of oversight by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), according to Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, executive director of MassCOSH, and co-author of the “Dying for Work” report. “It would take OSHA 140 years to inspect every Massachusetts workplace within their jurisdiction, and what that says is that they’re completely under-resourced; there is not enough inspectors, there is not enough funding,” Goldstein-Gelb told Open Media Boston.

During a press event for the report held at the Massachusetts State House last week, one woman shared how she lost her boat-builder husband to mesothelioma in 2011. “His death was terrible,” said Catherine Devitt about her husband Geoffrey Almeida. “He did not die suddenly like so many…we lost him over a year and a half. He went from a vibrant 59-year-old to a 60-year-old man who could not live; he weighed very little, he looked like he was 90.”

If you or a loved one has suffered from asbestos exposure and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, call Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation and to see if a mesothelioma lawyer can help.

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