Needless exposure to asbestos: an OSHA citation in 2013

Firm News
Jul 24, 2013

The United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known by its acronym OSHA, has fined Ford Motor Company $41,000 for eight serious violations to OSHA's code. The violations appear something out of yesteryear: Ford exposed employees to asbestos.

One of these alleged violations occurred when a pipe fitter was exposed to insulation containing asbestos, without any respiratory protection. This is a fact that commonly arises in asbestos litigation where the exposure happened decades ago. That this failure to protect workers would happen in 2013 boggles the mind. You can read the OSHA news release here. Attorneys for those unnecessarily exposed to asbestos often hear claims from representatives from defendants that by "X" date everyone protected workers and that respiratory equipment was ubiquitous. The OSHA citations demonstrate that if there are companies not protecting workers today, how can anyone be so certain they were protected decades ago? We know that's not so; countless workers were commonly and needlessly exposed to asbestos prior to and during the 1960s and 1970s. Employers disregarded OSHA regulations then and if OSHA's citations are accurate there are even violations today. It's a sad commentary. Meanwhile, we'll keep paying attention to this latest development.