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Cancer-causing substances threaten lives of Alstom workers

Employers in Missouri and across the country who expose their workers to hazardous materials should consider alternatives that might have a less severe impact on the health of their employees. This was said by an Occupational Safety and Health area director in another state after an investigation at an Alstom facility. Investigators determined that workers were exposed to dangerous quantities of several cancer-causing substances.

The dangerous substances include silica, nickel, lead and cadmium. OSHA determined that Alstom allowed this exposure during operations, such as welding and sandblasting, and failed to provide the necessary medical care in events of exposure. Training in the proper use of respirators was not provided to painters at the facility. OSHA requires employers to ensure correct ventilation to limit workers' exposure to airborne substances.

Alstom is also accused of allowing workers to enter eating areas and break rooms while wearing contaminated protective clothing. Instead, says the agency, shower areas must be provided to avoid spreading the carcinogens to communal areas. Other safety violations that were identified included noise and dangerous machine operations.

Missouri workers who are suffering the consequences of exposure to cancer-causing substances are entitled to seek financial assistance. Unfortunately, the effects of the exposure may only become apparent years after initial exposure, and proving the cause may be difficult. In some cases, the worker may no longer be in the employ of the company where initial contamination occurred. The skills of an experienced Missouri workers' compensation attorney may ease the process of claiming benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages.

Source: eveningtribune.com, "OSHA fines Hornell Alstom $105K", Ryan Papaserge, June 1, 2016

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