For many years, industries widely used asbestos for a wide range of uses and applications. The inert material became a valuable asset in the field of industrial chemistry. Asbestos is resistant to extreme temperatures and most chemicals. It does not evaporate into the air, nor dissolve in water. It has no smell or odor and does not migrate through soil. In short, it appeared to be a wondrous material with limitless practical uses. However, as the research began to show the dangers of inhaling asbestos fibers on the job site, it became clear that there were many employees were working in industries at risk for asbestos exposure.
For decades, millions of workers in occupational situations were inhaling asbestos fibers day after day, year after year, which had the potential to kill them with no idea of the dangers. Those working with insulation and piping materials were most at risk, but its use was pervasive and its dangers eventually became apparent.
Industries at risk for asbestos exposure initially ignored inherent dangers
Naturally, asbestos miners were at the greatest risk, working with the material on a regular basis. But there were many jobs where workers were not even aware they were being exposed to asbestos fibers, whether they knew of the dangers or not. Initially, there were no warnings, regulations, or precautions taken, meaning workers were inhaling the hazardous material freely and without reservation.
As the safety standards improved late in the 20th century, the threat remained and industrial workers continued to be put at dangerous risk, even as that risk became clear to business owners and operators. A long paper trail exposed industry executives’ wrongdoing and asbestos attorneys like those at Cooney & Conway have been fighting to ensure the voices of those workers harmed and the families so many of them have left behind are heard and compensated.
If you or a loved one works in one of the top five industries at risk for asbestos exposure, always keep safety at the forefront of all occupational activities. And if you or a family member work or worked in one of these industries and have contracted mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related illnesses, contact the asbestos attorneys at Cooney & Conway.
Top 5 industries at risk for asbestos exposure
- Construction: Asbestos was widely used in many aspects of the construction process. Employees working with insulation or pipe fitting are most at risk, including drywall installers, electricians, insulators, plumbers, pipefitters, boilermakers, and brick masons.
- Firefighter: Though it is an incredible fire-retardant material, asbestos can become airborne as the surrounding materials burn. Firefighters often charge into older buildings containing an array of dangerous materials and compounds.
- Auto mechanics: Asbestos has been used in brake linings, gaskets, and clutches for decades. Because mechanics cannot tell if a part contains asbestos by looking at it, anyone working on cars should proceed with the assumption that it does.
- Railroad: Railroad workers are still commonly being diagnosed with mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos through insulation materials on pipes, brakes, boilers, and gaskets.
- Shipbuilding: Workers from U.S. shipyards have experienced an abnormally high amount of mesothelioma cases after exposure to asbestos from 1950-64. Shipyard jobs that exposed workers to asbestos included machinists, pipefitters, electricians, boilermakers and painters.
If you or a loved one works in one of the top five industries at risk for asbestos exposure, and you feel an illness has resulted, contact the asbestos litigation specialists at Cooney & Conway.