Contrary to popular opinion, asbestos is still around: asbestos liability remains one of the biggest threats to U.S. businesses, and the insurance industry estimates that asbestos-related losses could go as high as $85 billion. Here are the ABCs of asbestos – something you may not have thought you’d need to know about:
Asbestos: Naturally occurring in the environment, asbestos is a group of minerals that exists as bundles of fibers, which can be separated into threads. Because of their durability and resistance to heat, fire, and chemicals, asbestos fibers have been widely used in many industries, including construction, shipbuilding, and automotive.
After heavy use in many products, asbestos was discovered to be a health hazard. Consequently, the use of asbestos has been greatly reduced. However, older products, especially older buildings, still contain asbestos. It is still legal to use asbestos in some applications, providing the product contains less than 1% asbestos.
Business insurance: Asbestos can prove costly to business owners whose employees use or regularly encounter it. Be aware of safety regulations, and implement them, using the help of employee education programs. Liability lawsuits are still being filed by individuals exposed to asbestos, and liability insurance is a must-have – not a should-have. Check with your insurance agent to ensure your coverage is appropriate for your level of risk.
Claims: The initial discovery of the harmful effects of asbestos resulted in a surge of claims. By the 1990s, it seemed this wave had passed. Recently, though, it has resurfaced. Business owners should be prepared with proper insurance.