Work-related accident at national site exposes workers to risk

On Behalf of | Jul 18, 2014 | Workplace Accidents

Some of America’s most iconic landmarks are located in New York. These landmarks often represent successes in our nation’s past and conjure positive sentiments in support of loyalty. Many more are located throughout the rest of the nation, but the national capital in Washington, DC is home to a large collection of monuments dedicated to presidents and nationalism. However, many are quite old and are in need of consistent maintenance and upkeep.

A recent work-related accident at the United States Capitol Building exposed a group of construction workers to asbestos and forced the building’s closure. The workers were in the process of removing materials over a staircase that insulated some pipes and those materials were discovered to contain asbestos. As a result of the incident an investigation was performed and it was determined that the asbestos contamination was low enough that the Capitol Building could be reopened.

The staircase, however was not reopened and may never be reopened due to the exposed asbestos-latent insulation. Asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber that can cause exposed individuals to develop lung and breathing problems. It is a serious safety hazard to workers employed in the construction and demolition fields. Though many modern buildings avoid using materials that may contain asbestos, older buildings like the Capitol Building and other historic sites may still contain it in their original structures.

Unlike construction accidents that cause immediate harm to those affected, asbestos exposure can take a long time to manifest into a serious health problem. OSHA and other agencies are aware of the dangers to workers regarding asbestos exposure, but problems still exist regarding safe handling at construction sites. Workers who have been exposed to any kind of physical harm while on the job may have legal rights to compensation for the damages they suffered.

Source:, “Parts of US Capitol closed after asbestos accident,” Alan Fram, July 10, 2014