During the last several decades, things have changed a lot in Pittsburgh. This city that is now lauded for its food scene, its museums, and much more was once better known as the industrial center of Pennsylvania.
Even more so that Philadelphia, Pittsburgh was the place where many mills, plants, refineries, and other industries – large and small – decided to make their home, employing locals who were eager for steady work and a good salary with benefits.
For workers in the steel mills and other factories that dotted the Pittsburgh landscape, salary and benefits were the positive part of the package. However, there were many downsides to working in the city’s many industries. Job responsibilities could be downright dangerous in many instances and accidents did indeed happen, especially in the early years before OSHA laws were in place.
Workplace injuries included burns, loss of limbs or appendages, and more. In some cases, employees were sickened due to gas leaks and exposure to hazardous chemicals, resulting in death.
For many workers in Pittsburgh, one of the biggest concerns became asbestos. From the early days of the 20th century through the end of the 1970s, asbestos was touted as the best insulator available and was also added to countless products to increase their durability.
Many of these products were put to use inside Pittsburgh’s industrial facilities and workers thought nothing about handling these products. Often, they would cut them, sand them, or otherwise manipulate them to the point where dangerous fibers would be released into the air and then inhaled.
As a matter of fact, asbestos kills residents of Allegheny County at a rate much higher than that of the national average. A recently-completed study by the Environmental Working Group stated that Allegheny County reported an average of 107 asbestos-related deaths per year in the years 1999 to 2013. This was the highest of any county in the state of Pennsylvania and one of the highest in the country.
The workers most at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases include those who were once employed as:
• Construction workers
Sadly, some of the numbers noted in the above-mentioned survey include family members of Pittsburgh employees who once worked with asbestos. Even individuals who were children when their fathers, brothers, or grandfathers worked in area plants and mills are discovering some 30-40 years later that they likely inhaled asbestos fibers from the clothing of family members.
Now, they’re facing an almost certain death sentence. On-the-job injuries and illnesses can often be avoided if only the employers would have taken the time to teach safety and inform workers of the potential dangers they faced on a daily basis. These days, OSHA helps with workplace safety but decades ago, when asbestos was in use, it was unlikely that anyone supplied workers with masks or demanded they shower before bringing asbestos dust into their household, even when the dangers were evident.
The result is several generations of Pittsburgh-area residents diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases. A Pittsburgh injury lawyer can assist in helping you gain the compensation you deserve for the strife caused by exposure to asbestos while working at an area industry. Lee Davis is familiar with Allegheny County’s many asbestos problems and knows where to probe to find those responsible for your injuries. Make an appointment today for a consultation and more information about your legal options.
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