As a worker who does a job in a hands-on industry like construction or fabrication, you probably understand that there is some degree of risk that comes from the work you do. You may recognize that the risk inherent in your line of work is why you make a competitive wage, so you may not spend much time worrying about your personal risk due to asbestos exposure.
After all, you may work with many other professionals who have handled asbestos for years and never experienced any kind of negative consequence. Your anecdotal experience might lead you to bend some of the workplace safety rules regarding asbestos or even openly ignore requirements, like the rule that says you have to take a shower after working in an environment with asbestos.
Your own health isn’t the only thing at risk if you have exposure to asbestos on the job. Your loved ones and the support staff at the company could also have risk because of your workplace exposure.
Secondary exposure can cause the same illnesses as primary exposure
When you handle asbestos on the job, you have primary exposure to this known carcinogen. If you leave the worksite and interact with another worker who does not have protective gear on, like a receptionist, you could potentially expose that other worker to asbestos by carrying it on your clothing, skin or hair.
Even worse, when you go home at the end of a long shift, you could bring asbestos into your house. Your loved ones could have secondary exposure when they hug you or if they encounter asbestos that came into the home on your clothing and then fell off onto the furniture or flooring. Those with secondary asbestos exposure can possibly develop severe illnesses related to asbestos, like mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Anyone sickened by asbestos may have compensation rights
Whether you work with asbestos directly on the job or had secondary environmental exposure from co-workers or family members, you have rights. If you develop an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma, you can potentially seek compensation for your medical costs and other losses related to your illness.
Realizing that workers aren’t the only ones at risk because of asbestos exposure on the job can help those reeling with a mesothelioma diagnosis explore their rights.