Recently, it has come to light that students and workers may have been exposed to asbestos at UC Davis. It is believed that unsafe practices in the Academic Technology Services Department may have led to the exposure, as many of the buildings were built at a time during which dangerous materials were commonly used in construction. Any time a worker contracts an illness related to work conditions or toxic exposure, it could be grounds for a workers’ compensation claim.
A spokesman for the California higher learning institution claimed that students and staff are not necessarily at risk, even if there is asbestos in some of the buildings. It was also noted that the presence of asbestos does not necessarily equate to airborne exposure. Despite these statements, two workers claim that they were directed to drill into the walls, possibly exposing themselves and students.
The two workers who were potentially exposed claimed that they were directed to drill, even when the manager knew of the risk. As a result of this possible negligence, people have questioned the safety policies at the California university. Asbestos exposure would impact every person who comes into the building, including students, teachers, maintenance workers and others.
It could take years for the symptoms of asbestos exposure to manifest, but that does not undermine the responsibility of employers to provide safe work environments for employees. Whenever a work-related illness is diagnosed, the worker and his or her family should take steps to protect their rights. One of the specific entitlements granted to sick or injured employees is the right to seek workers’ compensation to cover expenses and financial loss.
Source: theaggie.org, “UC Davis employees speak out on asbestos exposure in older campus buildings“, Alyssa Vandenberg, Sept. 24, 2015