Since President Trump has taken office, the executive branch has moved swiftly to roll back numerous regulations that impact workplace safety and workers’ compensation. The broad scope of these changes will likely impact workers throughout Missouri, but especially at nuclear plants in Kansas City.
OSHA Rule Had Meant to Protect People from Beryllium Disease
According to a recent article in The New York Times, rules that had been passed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the past few years have been getting slashed by the new administration.
One of the most prominent examples dealt with how companies handled beryllium, a mineral that was linked to a fatal lung disease and was used in a variety of industries. It has been known for decades that being exposed to beryllium – even in low doses – could cause chronic beryllium disease in people who have a genetic susceptibility to it. The disease kills about 100 people every year, and is extremely debilitating to anyone who develops it. However, industry lobbying had made it difficult to protect workers.
Finally, in 2015, OSHA managed to pass a regulation that increased the safety precautions that needed to be taken by businesses and industries that used beryllium. It also helped workers who had already been hurt by chronic beryllium disease by securing them workers’ compensation for their personal injuries.
In all, OSHA estimated that the rule would result in $560.9 million in benefits to workers, and would protect 62,000 workers who dealt with beryllium on a regular basis.
Newly Proposed Changes Could Drastically Weaken Regulation
However, OSHA’s new rule is now being changed in crucially important ways that might exempt some of the biggest contributors to the disease. Should the rule not apply to these players, it would gut the regulation’s impact and leave thousands of workers at risk of a serious lung disease without much legal protection.
Kansas City Plant Could Be Impacted
One type of business that uses beryllium on a regular basis is the nuclear industry. Beryllium is used to strengthen other metals and give them additional qualities that they might not otherwise have. This is especially important when making nuclear weapons.
Beryllium is used regularly at the Kansas City Plant, which is owned by Honeywell International. While the plant insists that it abides by all of the rules and regulations associated with beryllium, the fact that many of these rules are being challenged and the Plant could soon be exempt from them means that the hundreds of workers there could soon be unprotected.
Kansas City Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
The workplace is not somewhere that should be hazardous. Employers are in the best position to make sure that their workers are not exposed to materials like beryllium that could put them at a significant risk of an incurable disease. When they do not follow through on this responsibility, employers should be made to compensate their injured workers. However, this is often an uphill struggle.
That is why the workers’ compensation lawyers at the Smith Law Office represent clients who have been hurt at work. By fighting for your legal rights and interests, we can ensure that your injuries do not go uncompensated. Contact us online or call our law office at (816) 875-9373.