In the past, asbestos was used widely in building materials, consumer products and automotive parts. Workers in many industries from shipyards to steel plants were exposed to asbestos. A large percentage of them suffered from serious illnesses, such as mesothelioma, or died as a result of their exposure.
Federal regulations now restrict the use of asbestos, but do not outright ban its use. Under the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) restrictions in Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, employers are required to provide a workplace environment “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”
Pursuant to this statute, regulations have been issued concerning the use of asbestos in the workplace.