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OSHA Announces New Emphasis on Shipbreaking Safety from Asbestos

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is launching an effort to keep more shipbreaking workers safe from the dangers of asbestos and other potential job hazards.

Free Mesothelioma Case Evaluation: If you or a loved one worked in a shipyard and was subsequently diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related health complication, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help.

What’s the problem?

June 24, 2010 – A new OSHA shipbreaking fact sheet describes shipbreaking as “the process of dismantling an obsolete vessel’s structure for scrapping or disposal. Conducted at a pier, drydock or dismantling slip, it includes a wide range of activities, from removing all gear and equipment to cutting down and recycling the ship’s infrastructure.” The fact sheet lists asbestos exposure as the top hazard involved in shipbreaking.

The online document “Safe Work Practices in Shipbreaking” explains that “Both asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) and PCBs are usually removed in two stages. Prior to cutting away a section of the vessel, ACM is removed from areas that are to be cut and PCBs are removed from areas that are readily accessible. After the vessel section has been moved to shore, the remaining ACMs and PCBs are removed as they become accessible during the dismantling of the vessel section. The engine rooms usually contain the most asbestos and, therefore, take the longest for asbestos removal to be conducted.”

OSHA guidelines for safe shipbreaking in the presence of asbestos include wearing special negative-pressure respirators and limiting the time workers can spend in an asbestos-laden environment. OSHA also requires employers to institute a medical surveillance program for all workers who work in an environment at or above the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for asbestos for 30 or more days per year. All workers who engage in this type of work should be offered medical examinations or consultations both before and after their 30 days of exposure.

Do I have a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

The Toxic Tort Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus exclusively on the representation of plaintiffs in shipyard mesothelioma lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.

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