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Police station fined for long-term exposure to toxic chemicals

The police headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, that was previously under review by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has received its final report. The station has been fined for asbestos and water contamination violations that may have increased employees' long-term exposure to toxic chemicals.

The city's police station has been under review by OSHA for alleged violations regarding workplace conditions. The administration has now returned a report that fines the station approximately $2,700 for failing to abide by workplace safety requirements. The headquarters were cited for failing to protect employees from asbestos contamination or screen them for possible exposure. The site's ventilation systems may distribute asbestos particles and therefore cannot be used. Additionally, the water supply is contaminated with lead and has been deemed unsuitable for drinking or showering. City officials are reportedly deciding between constructing a new headquarters or repairing the current system.

When an employer's building has been deemed to violate OSHA standards, certain liabilities may apply in order to protect the employees working in the area. If a worker develops an illness, such as asbestos-related illness or lung cancer, caused by their work environment he or she may have recourse against the employer. A building owner has a legal responsibility to maintain a safe working environment for employees. Upon failure to maintain the building in such a manner, visitors or workers may be able to hold the owner liable for any resulting injuries or illnesses. Generally, however, instead of suing an employer many employees file a workers' compensation claim. These suits help offer a victim compensation for lost wages and medical expenses in order to help them on the road to recovery.

While many employers do not intentionally violate OSHA standards with a desire to harm their employees, it is still their legal obligation to stay atop the regulations in place to protect employees. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can help an ill or injured employee determine whether or not they have legal recourse or if they qualify for workers' compensation benefits to assist them during the hardship they may endure as a result of a workplace illness or injury.

Source: CBS Connecticut, "OSHA Fines Stamford Over Police Station Asbestos," November 17, 2014

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