Arizona regulators recently hit a Tucson construction company with a $10,500 fine for exposing workers to asbestos in order to salvage valuable copper piping.
According to the Arizona Daily Star, Canyon Building and Design was cited for seven asbestos-related violations by the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) after a lengthy investigation.
In 2012, Canyon Building was hired to take down two 1960s-era buildings at 3825 E. Second St. in Tucson and then build a new charter school on the site.
According to ADOSH, Canyon knew that surveys showed the buildings contained asbestos. Asbestos-containing materials were frequently used in older buildings because asbestos was once considered safe and highly effective for fireproofing.
An asbestos abatement contractor had been hired to remove the toxic substance from the buildings. But when the specialists showed up at the site, some of the work appeared to have been done.
Canyon’s site supervisor informed the removal specialists that more than 60 feet of copper piping had been ripped out and stolen from the buildings. However, the site supervisor and another worker later told ADOSH they had removed the copper piping because Canyon wanted to salvage and sell it, according to the Daily Star. Removing the pipes likely exposed the workers to asbestos.
To remove the asbestos in accordance with state and federal regulations, Canyon Construction should have sealed off work areas and monitored air quality. Workers should have had safety equipment and been given training in handling asbestos-containing materials.
In a report into the incident, ADOSH noted that the Canyon workers lacked both training and protective equipment for dealing with asbestos. The ADOSH report also stated that company’s safety and health programs were nonexistent and the presence and hazardous nature of asbestos was well documented and made clear to this employer.
Exposure to asbestos fibers is linked to mesothelioma, a deadly cancer. There are 3,200 mesothelioma cases diagnosed annually in the U.S. However, it can take up to 50 years for mesothelioma symptoms to appear after a person has been exposed to asbestos.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Call Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation.