Firefighters Exposed to Asbestos-Related Work Hazards in North Carolina

Recently, a Carteret County fire department was given a number of safety and health citations from the North Carolina Department of Labor after an investigation into alleged asbestos exposure. The safety inspection was conducted after the occupational department received a complaint.
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The Indian Beach-Salter Path Fire Department was on the receiving end of these citations after health officials determined that the department failed to take the proper actions to help protect employees from work-related accidents in North Carolina. The department received a dozen serious violations in addition to five non-serious violations, according to the Jacksonville Daily News. All of the citations were the result of the department violating the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina and failing to protect employees.

That was just about $14,500 in proposed penalties. We understand that fireman face grueling work conditions – running into burning buildings to save lives – but our North Carolina workers compensation attorneys don’t expect one of the dangers for firefighters to also be asbestos exposure. The complaint that launched the entire investigation into the Beach-Salter Path Fire Department was filed back on Nov. 2

Most of the safety violations were the result of an inspection into the site of 118 Ballpark Road. This is the site where fire department employees were required to take out linoleum that contained more than a quarter of Chrysotile asbestos, putting the workers at risk for injury and illness.

The citations reveal the violations were all grouped together because they all covered relatively similar workplace dangers and hazards that all have the potential to increase injury or illness resulting from an accident.

Investigators found there weren’t enough safety precautions taken to meet the requirements to work with Class II asbestos. These include performing exposure monitoring and providing knowledgeable supervision.

The citations didn’t explain why the employees were doing work on this site, but some reports indicate that back in November, the building was being prepared to be set on fire for training purposes.

In addition to the inspection of the site on Ballpark Road, health department officials also inspected the fire department itself on Salter Path Road. At this location, there were three electrical-related violations observed by occupational safety and health investigators.

The Beach-Salter Path Fire Department has 15 work days from the date on the issued citations to either file a notice of contest with the North Carolina Review Committee, to request and informal conference with the Labor Department or just pay the fine.

There are a number of complications that can arise from overexposure to asbestos:

-Mesothelioma – a form of cancer mainly affecting the lining of the lungs.

-Asbestosis – a non-malignant scarring of the lung tissue.

-Asbestos-related lung cancer.

-Non-malignant pleural disease.

If you, a coworker or someone you love has been injured in a work-related accident or has been exposed to a hazardous substance on the job, contact the Lee Law Offices, P.A. for help regarding your case. Call 1-800-887-1965 for a free initial consultation to discuss your rights today.

Additional Resources:

State cites fire department with violations, Jannette Pippen, Jacksonville Daily News

More Blog Entries:

Caution Urged for North and South Carolina Employees Required to Wear Respirators
January 30, 2012

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