If you live or work in a building scheduled to undergo construction, demolition or renovation, your health might be at risk. This is especially true if you're located in an area such as Pittsburgh or another Pennsylvania region where the erection of many structures and buildings was before 1985. As an employee, your employer is legally obligated to inform you if there is a potential asbestos problem in your workplace.
Your employer must also provide proper training and safety equipment when necessary. The Clean Air Act includes regulations regarding air toxicity in the workplace. Before construction, renovation or demolition can occur, an investigation of the premises must take place. If someone doesn't do his or her job right and you fall ill because of asbestos exposure, you may have grounds to seek financial accountability against the party or parties whose negligence caused your injury.
If you live or work in a building and the owner schedules demolition or construction, he or she must first notify the appropriate agency if the structure or building contains asbestos. The reason is that there are work practice standards designed to lower the risk of asbestos injury regarding removal of materials from a location where the microscopic fibers are present.
Renovation particularly risky
If workers are demolishing a building or structure, it is going to be gone once the project is complete. However, if renovation is taking place, your risk for injury is greater because many parts of the structure or building will remain, which means materials laden with asbestos may also remain. It also means workers will likely disturb such materials during renovation.
When someone disturbs asbestos, either through scraping, pounding, peeling or crumbling, the air can become filled with dangerous particles. If you inhale or ingest those particles, you may develop a terminal illness such as mesothelioma or asbestosis. The fact is, however, you might not even be aware that you are sick until years later when advanced-staged symptoms arise.
Where to seek support
If you are suffering adverse health symptoms that you believe could be related to asbestos exposure, it is a good idea to seek immediate medical attention. Make sure your doctor knows that you think you had an exposure to asbestos.
Once your doctor diagnoses an asbestos-related disease, you may want to talk to others who have gone through similar experiences because the emotional trauma associated with such diagnoses can be as devastating as physical symptoms of the disease. Many asbestos injury victims also seek support from Pennsylvania attorneys with experience in asbestos litigation.