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Toxic airborne substances and construction work

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2018 | Firm News |

People who have never been near a construction site are familiar with mesothelioma, a type of cancer associated with asbestos exposure. Often, a false belief exists that dangers saturating the news are on government radar.

The government may enact laws, but business-as-usual can prevail where there is little chance of state or federal oversight. There are too many laws and too few authorities to enforce them.

Dangers in the construction industry

Construction work-hazard lists warn workers of falls, electrocution risks, equipment failures or other job-site conditions that require strict safety monitoring. Training films and lectures teach workers how to recognize danger and protect themselves from harm.

Laws that protect workers from airborne toxins require construction companies to provide properly fitted facemasks or respirators to each worker. Many companies use regulation disposable half masks; however, a mask or respirator cannot filter toxic air unless the mask’s fit provides a tight seal to the worker’s face.

Protection from airborne toxins

Construction companies must provide face-fit tests for each employee’s mask as mandated by government occupational safety laws. Unfortunately, the industry as a whole has become lax about a time-consuming chore that holds up work productivity. Without a tight seal, a mask is not protecting workers from long-term health consequences.

While some companies perform an initial face-fit test, the employer fails due diligence if retesting is neglected. Workers lose or gain weight, get dental treatment or acquire scars that change their facial configurations. Masks that once fit tightly can lose their seal. Contour changes in facial skin or bone structure are common and require employers to perform frequent face-fit tests according to government safety schedules.

The construction industry, habituated to the use of facemasks, may find it easier to assume wearing a mask equals effective airway protection. If a construction site is putting employees in danger of exposure to the many toxic substances encountered during their workday, any worker can contact a professional in personal injury construction issues without revealing his or her identity to the company. The worker may want to take immediate action to stop the illegal health compromise.

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