07/23/2010 // Chicago, IL, USA // Cooney & Conway // Mesothelioma lawyers: Cooney & Conway
(Mesothelioma News) – After finding numerous safety violations—including serious lapses in the use and handling of asbestos—the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) has cited a local manufacturing company with $118,750 in penalties.
The measure marks yet another attempt by regulators to crack down on companies and property owners who, through negligence or willful misconduct, fail to adequately protect others from the perils of asbestos exposure.
Asbestos—which has heat- and fire-resistant qualities that made it a popular building material until health risks became widely known—is the primary cause of mesothelioma, a nearly always fatal cancer of the protective lining covering many of the body’s internal structures, including the heart, lungs, and abdomen.
While it can take decades after asbestos exposure to develop, mesothelioma carries a grim diagnosis and has led to many thousands of deaths over the years—along with asbestos lawsuits that have been litigated, often with multimillion-dollar awards, by mesothelioma lawyers.
In Michigan, regulators cited Hastings Manufacturing Company LLC for failing to adequately protect its employees from substantial health and safety hazards.
“The conditions found during the MIOSHA inspection were very serious,” said Stanley Pruss, director of the state’s Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth. “It is imperative that Hastings Manufacturing Company correct the serious health hazards which are endangering their employees. They must fulfill their obligations under the MIOSH Act, and provide a safe and healthy work environment for their employees.”
In recent years, manufacturers, property owners, and others have come under fire—and have been hit with civil and even criminal penalties—for failing to conform with asbestos regulations. These can be expensive and time-consuming to follow, but they protect workers, residents, and others from unnecessary and preventable asbestos exposure. Both direct and secondary exposure can trigger cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.
While there has been little progress on the medical front of asbestos-related diseases, the story has been different in the courtroom, with mesothelioma lawyers often obtaining compensation and answers for clients who have seen their lives and families devastated by the cancer-causing material.
Hastings, which designs and manufactures piston rings for the engine manufacturing and remanufacturing industries, employs about 185 workers, and is considered a high-hazard facility based on the type of work performed there. In addition to asbestos violations, inspectors found numerous deviations from other MIOSHA standards, many of those regulating hexavalent chromium and formaldehyde—other substances that pose serious health risks.
The asbestos violations included a failure to properly maintain deteriorated asbestos products, as well as improper removal and disturbance of asbestos. The latter is particularly troubling, mesothelioma lawyers and scientists say, because asbestos is most dangerous when it is airborne and can easily be inhaled into the lungs. In addition to mesothelioma, the inhalation of asbestos fibers can result in lung cancer and asbestosis, a scarring of the lungs that can cause severe respiratory distress.
Regulators hope significant fines such as this will act as a wake-up call and spur other companies that use asbestos, or have the material on their premises, to follow the rules and keep their employees safe.
“Employers have a legal responsibility to protect their workers, especially when they’re working with hazardous materials such as hexavalent chromium and formaldehyde or working where asbestos may be present,” said MIOSHA Director Doug Kalinowski. “We strongly encourage companies to use all available resources to ensure the safety and health of their workers.”
This news story was brought to you by the mesothelioma lawyers at Cooney & Conway. For more than half a century, we have been the champions of those injured through the negligence or wrongful actions of others. We have litigated, settled, and resolved some of the nation’s most significant asbestos lawsuits, bringing answers and compensation to victims of asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.
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