Workers' compensation: Contractor exposed teen worker to asbestos
A 43-year-old man was recently convicted in criminal court for endangering a child through asbestos exposure. The man was found guilty of not providing his teenage employee with protective clothing while the child removed and disposed of asbestos materials. It is certainly hoped that the teenager does not contract any kind of asbestos-related diseases as a result of his exposure to the substance. The convicted business owner was a contractor operating under three company names relating to heating and plumbing outfits.
A jury found the employer guilty of violating a state clean air act in Massachusetts. The jury also found him guilty of child endangerment relating to the asbestos removal by his teenage employee. Court papers indicated that the man had the teen remove, demolish and dispose of two boilers from a residence. The boilers had been insulated with asbestos, which the teen also had to remove.
This is the first time that asbestos violations were alleged in connection with child endangerment in the state where the case was litigated. It is not the first time that the business owner himself has been convicted of crimes, however. The man was convicted of larceny approximately 10 months ago on Aug. 21, 2013. Allegedly, the man had charged consumer credit cards without obtaining the consumers' consent.
According to scientists and doctors alike, there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. As such, the man who employed the teenager to remove asbestos without proper safety equipment and procedures in this case was extremely remiss in doing so. Further, it is laudable that state officials were quick to punish the man for his impropriety in this regard.
Maryland residents who are suffering from diseases caused by on-the-job asbestos exposure may be able to qualify for workers' compensation benefits to help pay for their ongoing medical care. Surviving family members of workers who have died due to asbestos contamination may also qualify for benefits to help pay for funeral expenses and help cover living expenses after losing a contributor to their family income.