20 Jan Take-Home Work Toxins Harm Household Members
A new California take-home toxic-exposure law affects employees who work around carcinogenic materials and the potential contamination of their household members. These workers may unwittingly bring home hazardous materials, such as asbestos, on their clothing, vehicle, or other possessions. Family members are then exposed to the toxic material, sometimes falling ill and incurring substantial medical bills while suffering a decreased quality of life.
Prior to the new law, it was difficult to impossible for hurt family members to hold the party responsible for the exposure—often the worker’s employer—accountable for their damaged health and other losses.
A New Law to Help Employee Families
This new law, which overturned a previous one, states that an employer or premises owner needs to take steps to prevent anyone from accidentally carrying away contaminants present on the site, and that protection now extends to members of a worker’s household.
This covers not only regular employees, but also anyone hired to work onsite, such as contractors. It does not, however, include other people who may have come into contact with the contaminant—only household members. This is because they could potentially be exposed over long periods of time. Ways that the premises owner or employer could avoid these charges would be to ensure that contaminated gear is left onsite and contained, and that the worker’s possessions are properly protected from irritants.
An Unfortunate Catalyst
Haver v. BNSF Railway Co and Kesner v. Superior Court precipitated this new law, and this case includes family members of two men who worked in areas that contained asbestos. Both families had members who succumbed to mesothelioma—a devastating cancer often attributed to prolonged asbestos exposure. It is believed that the asbestos particles travelled from the workplace into the men’s homes on their clothing, tools, and vehicles.
The case presented evidence that the workplace of these family members did not do enough to prevent these contaminants from leaving the jobsite. For example, the wife of one worker would wash her husband’s dirty work clothes for years and was unwittingly exposed to particles that ultimately caused her fatal cancer as a result.
Negligence and Premises Liability
Underlying this law are tenets common to negligence and premises liability cases: The owner or operator should exercise reasonable care to ensure that occupants are safe. They are also liable if their negligence or wrongdoing causes someone harm.
At Crowell Law Offices, we fight for clients who have been injured by toxic exposure and other premises liability dangers. We know how to construct the best case possible to prove that your or your family member’s injury or illness was caused by someone else. Call us now at 916-303-2800 to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation to learn how we can help you get the largest settlement possible for your situation. Alternatively, you can also reach us online through the contact form on this page.