Occupations at Highest Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Mar 2, 2020 | Asbestos

Anyone who worked with or around asbestos could develop one of the harmful forms of mesothelioma cancer, however, the following workers are more likely to have encountered asbestos in their careers:

Construction Workers
Prior to 1979, construction workers were frequently required to work in close proximity to asbestos if not to be involved in its direct handling. Exposure to asbestos has been linked to a number of severe health concerns, including the development of mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer. Many construction workers have developed and continue to develop mesothelioma as a consequence of exposure in the workplace.​​​Not all construction workers are at risk of developing mesothelioma, but there are some situations in which this is more likely and it is advisable to see a doctor. You may be in danger if you:

  • Were involved with construction projects before 1979
  • Have worked on buildings built before 1979
  • Participated in refurbishing projects in buildings that may contain asbestos
  • Installed new ceramic tiles, drywall, or piping into a building that contained asbestos
  • Were asked to remove asbestos from a building that contained the substance
  • Although it has been banned from future use, buildings that were built before 1980 may still contain asbestos and put construction workers at risk.

Contract Workers
Contract workers may move around from job to job more than the average person. Because of the many different work environments and requested projects, contract workers could be at risk of exposure to many different toxic substances. In some situations, contractors may come into contact with asbestos, a fibrous material that can lead to the development of mesothelioma.

Contract jobs that may expose a worker to asbestos include:

  • Flooring
  • Replacing drywall
  • Working on pipes
  • Roofing
  • Remodeling
  • Demolition

Factory Workers
Manufacturing jobs frequently require workers to put in long hours in the enclosed spaces of factories. Prior to 1979, many manufactured goods contained asbestos. Factory employees may have been exposed to asbestos before regulations were tightened, but due to the long, slow process by which mesothelioma develops have only recently been diagnosed.

Although anyone who worked in a factory that produced asbestos-containing products may be in danger, there are some jobs that may have been more dangerous before the asbestos ban. This list includes:

  • Grinding machine operators
  • Drill press operators

Because these individuals may have been required to drill into products that were made from asbestos and utilized machinery that contained this dangerous substance, these employees may experience an elevated mesothelioma risk. These workers and others that worked in factories that made things with asbestos should consider speaking to a medical professional about their health concerns.

Military Personnel
Until its use was discovered to be linked with the development of mesothelioma and other serious diseases, asbestos was commonly used as a building material in a wide variety of military structures. 

The most significant asbestos exposure risk for military personnel involves naval vessels, particularly large warships, which often contained remarkably high levels of asbestos until recently. However, a number of other serious exposure risks include:

  • Boiler rooms
  • Mess halls
  • Sleeping quarters
  • Piping
  • Roofing

These and other potential sources of asbestos exposure can place the health of all military personnel in serious danger.

Railroad Workers
Throughout most of the 20th century, railroad cars and other equipment were commonly manufactured with significant amounts of asbestos. Due to the circumstances of their employment, railroad workers are at particular risk of suffering from asbestos-related diseases.

There are a number of different ways that railroad workers may have suffered exposure to dangerous levels of asbestos. Some of the most common of these exposure risks include:

  • Locomotive inspections
  • Brake inspection or replacement
  • Coupling and separating cars
  • Repairing signals on tracks or yards

Veterans
Veterans of any branch of the United States military have offered brave, selfless service to the country. Sadly, in performing certain duties, many veterans were exposed to asbestos, which was widely used on ships and other military vessels prior to 1979.

Serving in the armed forces comes with inherent risk, but many veterans were unknowingly exposed to hidden dangers when working in certain capacities where asbestos was present. Those whose service involved the following are more likely than others to have been exposed:

  • Piping / Plumbing
  • Drywall
  • Shipbuilding
  • Siding and tiling

Other Occupations at Risk

  • Miners
  • Electricians
  • Insulation workers
  • Automotive workers
  • Power plant/refinery workers
  • Plumbers
  • Painters

Contact Us
​These are not the only occupations that may put a person in contact with asbestos, but they represent a few situations in which such exposure may have been more frequent. Workers should have been informed of the presence of asbestos and given the equipment necessary to prevent dangerous exposure. The failure of an employer to do so constitutes inexcusable negligence.

The mesothelioma attorneys of Williams Hart are experienced with asbestos litigation and related cases. Contact our team to discuss the details of your case with a lawyer that understands the importance of filing for compensation and representing the rights of victims.

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