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Family takes on ExxonMobil over asbestos exposure death

Under state and federal law, employers are required to keep a workplace free from unnecessary risks and hazards. One thing that can cause an unsafe work environment is the presence of asbestos.

According to OSHA, inhaling asbestos fibers by workers can lead to serious diseases of the lungs and other organs. Sometimes, the damage does not appear for years after exposure to the asbestos.

There are many types of jobs during which a worker may be exposed to asbestos. However, OSHA has established limits on how much exposure a worker can have to asbestos without putting the worker's health at risk. When an employer doesn't follow these guidelines and a worker ends up sick, the employer can be sued.

The children of a deceased Texas worker have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against his former employer, claiming the company knowingly put him in harm's way.

The suit was filed on Dec. 2 in Jefferson County District Court in Texas. The man's children have named ExxonMobil as the defendant. The man was formerly employed at Mobil Oil, where his children claim he was consistently exposed to the dangerous insulating material asbestos.

The children believe that this exposure to the fibrous material led the man to breathe the dusts and fibers on a regular basis. The man eventually was diagnosed with pulmonary asbestosis and he died in Dec. 2010 as a result.

The children argued in court papers that management at the company knew that the asbestos was present and that it could potentially cause different types of cancer. Even with that knowledge, they are accused of still allowing employees to work among the substance.

The victim's children are seeking exemplary damages in their lawsuit. The exact amount sought was not specified.

Source: The Southeast Texas Record, "Children sue ExxonMobil for father's asbestos exposure," David Yates, Dec. 9, 2011

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