Occupational Asbestos Exposure & Risk of Asbestos Diseases

Asbestos Exposure in the Workplace

Asbestos exposure is common among those who work in the trades or do manual labor. Discuss your work history with your doctor if you fall into one of the high risk categories listed below. This will keep your doctor on the alert for symptoms of asbestos–related diseases, which often take decades to develop after the initial asbestos exposure (see asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer for details).

If your asbestos exposure took place during the course of private employment, you may be eligible to file a workers' compensation claim. You may also have a case against the manufacturer of the asbestos product involved. To learn more about workers' compensation options, visit the asbestos workers' compensation section.

Additional Information About High Risk Jobs

The following list of trades have a high incidence of asbestos exposure. More specific information about asbestos exposure on the following jobs can be found at Asbestos Network.

Insulating

Exposed asbestos on damaged pipe insulation on pipes in a refinery.

Insulators, or people that worked extensively around asbestos insulation, are especially at risk for the development of an asbestos related disease. Common products that insulators worked with are:

  • asbestos pipe covering,
  • asbestos block insulation,
  • asbestos containing cement,
  • asbestos lagging, or
  • Zonolite Attic Insulation.

Ship Building

Two ships docked in a harbor

Those involved with the building or maintenance of ships are at risk for high doses of airborne asbestos. Commonly used around boilers and steam pipes, asbestos insulation may become air borne during simple routine maintenance.

Power Plants, Refineries and Industrial Settings

Power plants, refineries and industrial settings are jobsites where asbestos was used extensively.

Construction

Construction workers on a building site.

Asbestos products were used extensively in both home and commercial construction. Fireproofing, insulation, joint compounds, plaster and patching compounds are just a few of the commonly used products that contained asbestos. Plumbers and pipefitters are also at risk—exposed through asbestos laden cement pipes, deteriorating asbestos insulation and pipe coverings.

Pipefitters and Plumbers

Pipefitters and plumbers, steamfitters, welders, boilermakers, refractory workers, and electricians are occupations which carry a high risk of exposure to asbestos.

Mining

Miner working in a talc or vermiculite mine.

Miners of asbestos, talc and vermiculite are at significant risk for heavy asbestos exposure and asbestos disease. Large amounts of asbestos dust, poor ventilation and lack of proper breathing protection were contributing factors to the high incidence of mesothelioma in the Iron Range miners.

Textile Industry

The textile industry used asbestos in heat resistant products like heat–resistant pads, asbestos gloves, and woven into cloth coverings and protective blankets.

Auto Mechanics

There was extensive use of asbestos in brake pads and shoes, as well as asbestos clutch discs and linings. For mechanics, the danger from asbestos resides in asbestos fibers becoming airborne during brake, clutch, and gasket installation, removal, and inspection.

Railroad Workers

Railroad worker installing asbestos insulation on an engine boiler.

The high heat output of steam and diesel locomotives made them a perfect candidate for the heat resistant properties of asbestos heat insulation. Boilers, steam pipes, hot water lines and refrigeration units were common applications of asbestos heat wrap and insulation. Regular maintenance involved the removal and replacement of asbestos insulation; exposing workers to airborne asbestos fibers.

Appliance Shops

Appliance shops, where older asbestos–containing consumer products are dismantled and repaired.

Helping Those With Asbestos & Work Related Injuries

Our asbestos attorneys have helped asbestos victims for over 30 years. If asbestos exposure has affected you and you are suffering from an asbestos–related disease, contact our team of expert asbestos attorneys to learn more about how we can help you.

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