Alexandria, New York Highway Department workers took their complaints of asbestos exposure to the Town Council, but so far the council is pushing for the workers to keep the job going.
Watertown Daily Times reports that the workers are complaining not only of having to clear out a building filled with asbestos, but also for not being given the proper safety gear. The issue arose last month while the workers were clearing out the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce building on Market Street. As they started to clear plaster from the 2nd floor, large amounts of dust permeated throughout the air, and according to E. Michael Tibbles, they were never told the work conditions would be so dangerous.
“We didn’t know it was that bad.”
Tibbles, along with other employees, are blaming the town and the Highway Superintendent Jerry Durand for not providing them proper protection prior to starting the job, and failed to do anything until after they were working inside the building for two days. Even then, Tibbles states that they would get made fun of and ridiculed for not completing the work.
Family members, including Tibbles’ spouse Irene, are concerned that their loved ones may have developed an asbestos-related illness that may not surface until decades from now. Sarcastically, Irene stated,
“If that’s what these guys have to look forward to, I’m glad the cemeteries are nice in this town.”
The workers also noticed that the council had already studied the dangers of the building in 2014. Tibbles stated that building is taped off with a sign warning people to stay away from the building due to asbestos dangers, yet the workers are expected to go in there.
“How does that make us feel?” said Tibbles.
As a result, Tibbles and his fellow co-workers are exploring their legal options and considering hiring an asbestos attorney.
On December 21, the building was inspected by Rob Campany, of Fourth Coast Inc. Adirondack Operations. The town stated that the air samples were below the safety threshold. The town also indicated that its offering medical care and checkups to those working in the building. According to Supervisor Dale D. Hunneyman, the employees have declined any medical checkups. In turn, the town pushed to have the work project completed.
Hunneyman also disagrees with workers concerning how long they were actually working in the building, claiming that video surveillance shows that they were in the building during a shorter time than they allege.
Yet, any contact with asbestos and asbestos fibers is unsafe, no matter how small the amount and regardless of how long or short of time someone works around it. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “There is no “safe” level of asbestos exposure for any type of asbestos fiber.” In fact, OSHA states that being around asbestos for just a day or two can lead to mesothelioma, a type of toxic cancer that currently has no cure.
Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other illness related to asbestos, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who are victims to asbestos-related diseases. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool today to find a leading mesothelioma attorney in your area. For additional assistance or if you have any questions, contact us toll-free at 800-694-4856.