As asbestos attorneys we take great pride in what we do and rejoice in the multi-million dollar awards we win for our clients. But we never lose sight of the fact that behind every win there is also a loss. That loss is the impending loss of life for each client struggling with malignant mesothelioma. Although we are excellent asbestos attorneys and the doctors who treat malignant mesothelioma are excellent doctors, there is yet no cure.
Today as we observe Workers Memorial Day with millions of others all over the world, we recall the brave wonderful people we have represented. The AFL-CIO slogan for this year’s Workers Memorial Day – Mourn the Dead, Fight for the Living – resonates profoundly for each of us at Kazan Law. Because that is what we do every day.
This year between 2,500 and 3,000 US citizens will be diagnosed with mesothelioma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mesothelioma is 100% attributable to exposure to asbestos. In almost every instance the asbestos exposure happened because of the work they or someone in their family did. (Secondary asbestos exposure occurs when the person working with asbestos unknowingly brings the lethal microscopic fibers into the home on their clothes).
High-risk work groups for exposure to asbestos include: shipyard workers, oil refinery workers, manufacturing workers, plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, machinists, or construction workers. Typically the exposure to asbestos occurred in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s. The damage to the lungs, typically as malignant mesothelioma takes decades to emerge. But when it does, it is irreversible.
Four decades ago, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, promising every worker the right to a safe job. Unions have fought to make that promise a reality—winning protections that have made jobs safer, saved lives and prevented millions of workplace injuries and illnesses. Businesses falsely claim that these regulations and protections kill jobs. The fact is these regulations and protections keep jobs and employers from killing workers. But there is still more to be done – especially on a global scale.
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), across the world:
- Each year, more than two million men and women die as a result of work-related accidents and diseases
- Workers suffer approximately 270 million accidents each year, and fall victim to some 160 million incidents of -related illnesses
- Hazardous substances kill 440,000 workers annually – asbestos claims 100,000 lives
- One worker dies every 15 seconds worldwide. 6,000 workers die every day. More people die at work than fighting wars.
To find a Workers’ Memorial Day event near you, check here.