Oregon Public Broadcasting

A Springfield hospital is facing a lawsuit from five construction workers who say they were exposed to airborne asbestos fibers while on the job.

The suit against McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center, and a Utah-based construction contractor, seeks $10 million in damages.

The Eugene Register-Guard reports that the dispute is centered on the improper handling of asbestos during demolition and renovation work last year.

The workers claim there was not enough oversight of the job.

State occupational safety and health regulators earlier this year fined McKenzie-Willamette and its construction firm each more than $25,000 dollars in the case.

Hospital officials have so far declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Asbestos is a fire retardant found in a variety of building materials. Asbestos exposure is associated with respiratory disease and cancer if the minuscule fibers are released into the air and inhaled.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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