The government can penalize employers for serious violations of asbestos-removal rules without having to show workers were exposed to the substance, because the harm is presumed, a federal appeals court held Tuesday.

In a precedential ruling, the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the secretary of labor’s determination that ConocoPhillips Bayway Refinery in Linden committed serious violations when it replaced part of a leaking underground gasoline pipe.

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