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Workplace Illness: New York nonprofit exposed workers to asbestos

Asbestos abatement is known to pose severe health hazards to workers in New York and elsewhere. Exposure to asbestos can cause an employee to suffer a workplace illness that can have grave consequences. A nonprofit organization in Auburn recently paid a stiff penalty after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated its compliance with safety regulations in areas where asbestos was present.

A spokesperson for the organization says they identified the presence of asbestos in floor tiles during an office renovation project in June. However, OSHA says the organization failed to arrange an assessment of asbestos exposure by a competent person. Federal inspectors determined that the company exposed four employees to asbestos during the project.

The chief executive officer of the organization says they conducted air quality tests that did not indicate any threat of asbestos particles in the air. They believed that the asbestos dust never became airborne and, for that reason, it posed no danger to workers. He also claims that none of the workers complained of feeling sick while they were removing the tiles.

However, the workplace illness that is typically associated with asbestos exposure is not necessarily immediately evident, and it can develop into permanent lung damage. Workers in New York who experience unusual shortness of breath and coughing may benefit from proper medical evaluations to determine whether they might be suffering the consequences of asbestos exposure. Long-term care can be costly, and victims of this illness may pursue financial relief by filing benefits claims with the workers' compensation insurance program for coverage of medical expenses and lost income.

Source:, "OSHA cites and fines Cayuga Centers for improper asbestos removal", Gwendolyn Craig, Nov. 11, 2016

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