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I have a few legal questions regarding my current employer…

Hello, I have a...

Hello, I have a few legal questions regarding my current employer regarding exposure to silica dust.

Lawyer's Assistant: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Louisiana

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

No, not yet. I'm unsure about what steps I should take.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I think that's it.

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Answered in 2 minutes by:
1/16/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12,151
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today.

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only. What specific questions did you have? I have an idea about your situation, but I don’t want to make any assumptions.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Hello! I am currently employed for a waterproofing construction company and have been working there for about a year and a half. I have worked on multiple job sites grinding out mortar from bricks for months at a time wearing only a paper face mask. Recently, I found out about silicosis from another tradesman who was concerned about me and my coworkers grinding because of the silica in the mortar. So, through my own research I learned what silica is and how devastating it is to the lungs. My employer has never warned us of the hazards. From what I've read from OSHA website they haven't been supplying us with the proper equipment like a shop vacuum attached to the grinder for dust reduction or properly fitted. respirators.

I'm really sorry to hear about that. Ordinarily, employers are required to provide a reasonably safe work place to their employees. This means that they don't have to eliminate all risks, but they are required to lessen the risks that can be avoided. Basically, OSHA requires that all employers work to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. The law requires that employers provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. In your case, if this element is a known danger, and they are doing nothing to keep you free of that known risk, then you may want to file an OSHA complaint. You can click here to get started.

You may also have a separate civil cause of action as well for negligence.

Negligence simply means that there was a duty that the other party owed and they breached that duty in some way. What is most important is that it is proven that the defendant breached their duty of care because that is what mostly determines whether there is a cause of action. Basically, the question is, “Did the defendant’s actions fall below the standard of care for a reasonable person in a similar situation?” If the answer to that question is yes, then there is negligence and you are entitled to damages. Damages can be difficult to calculate, but if you click here you can use a calculator help you understand.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. What other questions did you have for me regarding this?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
One of my main concerns is how much damage is already done to my lungs. Would my company have to pay for the physical examination and X-rays or is this something I would have to get done on my own?
Secondly, If I do find out I have silicosis will I have a case for workman compensation? Or should I focus on a lawsuit against the company?
I can understand your concern. If you file a lawsuit, you would likely have to get some examinations done yourself ahead of time. This way you can show that you actually suffered some damages as a result of their actions. As a part of your OSHA complaint, if OSHA determines that they did break the law, then you can request that they pay for these things. It's really is up to you. They would have to be ordered to do this by OSHA, but generally it's not a requirement that they have to pay for those unless there's wrongdoing
As far as workers compensation, the answer to your question is yes, because this would have been a workplace injury then you should be entitled to workers comp. Did you have any other questions for me?
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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
If the X-ray results are negative and I don't have silicosis what will happen?
Also, I am still working for the company at the moment. We are not doing a job the exposes me to silica. If they did ask me to work a job that involves silica and they terminate me can that hold up in court?
If they show up negative, then it may mean that you don't have a cause of action for negligence, but it doesn't mean that you aren't being exposed to it. So, this is probably why it is smart to file a complaint with OSHA. If they did ask you to work a job that involves this elemement, then their termination of you won't matter because if they are required to keep you safe from it, they are required to keep you safe from it. If they terminate you, then it would have to be for some legitimate reason like they had a bad quarter or something of that nature.
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