Two workers for an asbestos removal company were not only injured but also exposed to asbestos when a Mineola building's ceiling collapsed during a renovation of the property. According to authorities, 17 other individuals were in the building at the time of the collapse but escaped the incident without injury. The event took place at the former site for social services in Mineola, New York, a building that is now being converted to a family court.
According to officials, the environmental cleaning company workers were prepping the building for the removal of asbestos when a piece of concrete that had been reinforced with metal rods fell. This purportedly trapped two workers and caused asbestos to suffuse throughout the site.
Officials described the injuries suffered by the two workers as non-life-threatening. The other 17 workers were decontaminated after their exposure to asbestos and taken to a hospital. The injured workers also received transport to a hospital, where the men were described as conscious and alert.
According to authorities, engineers are checking the building's structural integrity. Reportedly, the structure has been abandoned for years. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also looking into the incident, authorities said.
Because this was a workplace accident, the individuals who were injured may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Workers hurt while working may be eligible for these benefits regardless of what party was at fault for an accident.
However, the process by which injured employees file a workers' compensation claim and receive benefits can be complicated. Sometimes, it can even be adversarial. Thus, many injured workers seek the representation of an attorney immediately following a workplace accident.
Source: CBS New York, "Two construction workers trapped when ceiling collapses in Mineola", October 17, 2014