Police department personnel removed the two men trapped inside the debris. Both were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
The other 17 members of the work crew inside the building at the time of the ceiling collapse were able to escape the building. They were decontaminated for asbestos.
An environmental cleaning company from Queens was the employer of everyone involved in the incident.
The New York State Department of Labor requires asbestos elimination.
Asbestos are a known human carcinogen and a very serious health hazard. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the EPA, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have all said asbestos can cause cancer. The National Cancer Institute points to studies that have shown exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma. Studies have also suggested an association between asbestos exposure and other cancers, including cancers of the kidney, throat, gallbladder and esophagus. In addition, exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of asbestosis and other respiratory disorders.
Construction workers face significant asbestos exposure on the job. WebMD discusses asbestos exposure. If asbestos materials in a building are disturbed and the microscopic fibers are released into the air, there is a high risk of exposure to them. When asbestos fibers are breathed in, they may get trapped in a person’s lungs and remain there. Over time, these fibers can build up and cause scarring and inflammation. In turn, breathing can be affected and permanent damage can occur.
Signs and symptoms of these diseases may not appear for 10 to 40 or more years after exposure to asbestos has occurred.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the incident on Long Island. Workers who are injured on the job in New York are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers who were diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease should consider contacting an experienced lawyer. Courts have awarded compensation to workers exposed to asbestos on the job.
The CBS News story cited is “Two Construction Workers Trapped When Ceiling Collapses In Mineola.”