Asbestos Exposure Led to Former Oil Worker’s Death

A United Kingdom coroner’s court ruled repeated exposure to asbestos caused the death of a retired oil refinery worker. This just underscores how dangerous working on oil rigs and refinery plants can be because of the presence of asbestos.

As reported in the U.K.-based Daily Echo, Elmo Dougherty worked at the Fawley Oil Refinery for 25 years starting in 1977. Dougherty died at age 73 in December 2012 of complications from fibrosis and bronchial pneumonia. While at the refinery, working with pipe-fitters and welders, he experienced “significant exposure” to asbestos on a near-daily basis.

Oil refinery workers in the U.K. and the United States have historically been at high risk for developing an asbestos-related condition, as this informative page points out. Even in its crude form, oil is highly flammable (as well as toxic), so refiners used asbestos in their processing plants. Asbestos is durable and flame resistant, and so was a substance of choice for insulation. But over time, asbestos can become brittle and flake off, producing asbestos dust.

When inhaled, asbestos fibers can become embedded in the lungs and other internal organs. The fibers cause scarring over many years and decades. This scarring can lead to diseases such as asbestosis or mesothelioma cancer. Before the dangers of asbestos exposure became widely known, American and British workers like Elmo Dougherty labored without the benefit of protective gear and basic safety training.

Although the asbestos industry knew that their products were harmful, they kept their knowledge hidden from their workers and the public. If you or a family member has suffered from the devastating effects of asbestos exposure, you have rights under the law. Monetary compensation in the form of a mesothelioma lawsuit can help pay medical bills and other expenses. Call Sokolove Law for your free, no-obligation case evaluation today.