There are some workplace hazards that endanger only the employees. But in some cases, workplace injuries are caused by something that could affect customers as well. One example of this is when employees are exposed to asbestos.
A grocery store in Aspen, Colorado, has begun work to remove asbestos from the store's building. The Colorado Department of Health and Environment has granted permission for the work to be done while the store is closed to protect employees and customers from further exposure. City health officials are also going to be checking on the process.
The article does not provide information as to how the asbestos was discovered in the first place. However once it was discovered, the store was closed for a few weeks to make sure that the building had been thoroughly searched for asbestos.
A month ago, grocery store employees alleged that they were exposed to several health hazards at work, including asbestos exposure. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration investigated the allegations; currently no conclusion has been made in regards to the employee complaints.
In order to get rid of the dangerous material, it has to be scraped off of the building structure and remnants could remain in the air. While the removal work is being done, the air will be tested consistently to make sure that the asbestos does not linger in the air.
Employees who worked every day could have been at risk for health problems related to asbestos exposure. If asbestos is breathed in, it could cause lung injuries and even cancer.
If the employees suffer injuries that are related to the asbestos exposure, they may be able to obtain workers' compensation to help them financially with medical treatment and recovery costs.
Source: The Aspen Times online, "Asbestos work to start at Aspen City Market," Janet Urquhart, 29 December 2010