January 29, 2016
By Neal Tepel, LaborPress Editorial
New York, NY – Mandatory licensing is needed for all workers and companies involved in demolition and environmental remediation. License and monitoring is particularly important for contractors who work with asbestos containing materials so that workers are not put in harms way by unscrupulous contractors. Proper training from an approved instructional center or union should be required of all that work with asbestos materials.
Contractor certification and strict oversight within this industry would curtail illegal dumping of asbestos which results in the release of poisons in the air. Thousands of children and older adults now face respiratory ailments from asbestos fibers.
Non-union contractors often put demolition workers and communities at risk by not properly cleaning a site or hiring trained workers. Using unqualified personnel on a demolition or renovation job can result in the release of deadly fibers into the air. 'Dirty' air inhaled can cause fatal illnesses up to decades later. Exposure of excessive levels of asbestos fibres, a known carcinogen, often takes place when workers are not trained properly or provided proper equipment. Occupational disease is the single leading cause of work-related death in the country.
Companies that knowingly expose workers and local neighborhoods to asbestos should face serious fines and jail time. Regulations must be legislated to ensure proper training of workers as well as certification and monitoring of contractors.