The Fight for Workers Dealing with Asbestos Exposure
In countries such as the U.S., certain conveniences are often taken for granted, including cars, plumbing and electricity. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we rarely think about the amount of work and labor that went into producing these goods. Such a thought becomes poignant when we remember that some workers deal with asbestos exposure and other hazardous materials during the manufacturing process.
It’s important for us at Kazan Law to take time out and remember to honor these workers, and remind ourselves of why we’re trying to reduce the threat of asbestos exposure at home and around the world. That’s why, on April 28, we joined an international collection of labor unions in solidarity as we commemorated Workers’ Memorial Day as well as World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
Organizations push for better working conditions
When it comes to industries such as construction or manufacturing, the health hazards that workers face go above and beyond the everyday stress that people in other sectors face. Not only are some of these jobs physically demanding, but they also expose workers to certain hazardous materials, including asbestos.
Every year, on April 28, unions such as the AFL-CIO celebrate Workers’ Memorial Day to remember individuals who died because of disease or injuries they suffered while on the job. These incidents are sometimes the product of negligence on the part of irresponsible employers. Workers’ Memorial Day reminds us of the importance of speaking up for these individuals and correcting the mistakes that cost them their lives.
In that spirit, the International Labour Organization also designated April 28 as World Day for Safety and Health at Work. The ILO notes that every year, 2.34 million individuals around the world die from job-related causes. Of these casualties, 2.02 million are caused by diseases, including malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis.
This means that, on average, one person dies every 15 seconds because of a work-related accident or sickness. Developing countries are disproportionately hit because of the prominence that hazardous industries such as construction and mining have within their economies.
These trends are not only upsetting because they hurt the global economy – there’s also an immeasurable human cost for those who die, as well as the loved ones they leave behind.
However, April 28 reminds us of the importance of letting workers have a voice in unions, and collecting good data that holds industries accountable for their practices.
Kazan Law fights for workers
When it comes to asbestos-related diseases alone, the World Health Organization estimates that these illnesses claim more than 107,000 lives every year because of occupational asbestos exposure. The agency is working with intergovernmental groups around the planet to solve this problem by curbing asbestos use, encouraging the use of safer alternative materials and supporting research toward better treatments.
Our law firm is happy to stand by such causes. On a more local level, we also fight irresponsible companies who unscrupulously expose their workers to asbestos. Some of our recent victories include the cases of an auto mechanic for the Ford Motor Company in Hayward, Calif., a PG&E laborer, a machinist and a welder. All of these individuals were exposed to asbestos without receiving adequate warning or protection from the dangers involved, and we succeeded in persuading juries to award them a more-than-combined $20 million in damages.
Still, it would have been best if none of them were exposed to asbestos in the first place. This is why it’s important to continue fighting for the safety of all workers around the world.