Asbestos Exposure in Mechanical Engineers

Summary

The role of a mechanical engineer combines engineering, physics, mathematics and material sciences. Mechanical engineers analyze, design, manufacture and maintain machinery, often in large factories, putting them at risk of asbestos exposure and developing mesothelioma.

Roles and Responsibilities

Mechanical engineers are responsible for developing, designing and maintaining machinery. Some engineers specialize in specific areas, such as in shipbuilding, or constructing generators, while others work on large industrial sites filled with heavy machinery.

Specific job duties can include:

  • Analyzing problems
  • Designing or redesigning mechanical devices
  • Developing devices
  • Testing prototypes
  • Overseeing the manufacturing process

Mechanical engineers are required in a variety of industries, including in architectural, manufacturing and transportation services. However, a vast number of mechanical engineers also work in general-purpose machinery environments, operating on automotive parts and large machines.

Working with moving parts is a dangerous job in itself, but this line of work also put a lot of mechanical engineers at risk of coming into contact with asbestos. Asbestos exposure is now known to cause rare diseases, such as mesothelioma.

Mechanical Engineers and Asbestos Exposure

Mechanical engineers were most at risk of coming into contact with asbestos from the 1940s until the mid-1970s. It was during this time that the toxic substance was used in abundance throughout the industry, and thousands of workers have become ill or lost their lives after inhaling the friable fibers.

MJN Brief

A 2001 article looking at the connection of asbestos with mesothelioma found that mechanical engineering was one of the professions that showed a significantly elevated number of deaths due to the disease.

Asbestos was used for insulation and fireproofing, as it served as an excellent resistor to heat. It was used to cover electrical wires, pipes containing chemicals and boilers. It was also frequently used to make brakes and gaskets, to help against friction.

Nowadays, asbestos is an internationally recognized occupational hazard and is illegal in over 50 countries, the U.S. unfortunately not included.

Compensation Awarded

A mesothelioma victim in the UK was awarded compensation posthumously after coming into contact with asbestos during his years as a mechanical engineer.

Before the 1970s, there were little to no safety precautions provided regarding asbestos, and in some cases, it was believed to protect workers against fires. The victim filed a lawsuit against his former employee, though sadly passed away before he could personally benefit from the pay-out.

Access Asbestos Trust Funds

Compensation for treatment, loss of income and other damages is available through Asbestos Trust Funds. Mesothelioma patients and veterans with asbestos-related illnesses may qualify.

Find Out If You Qualify

Mechanical Engineers and Mesothelioma

Mechanical engineering is said to be one of the most dangerous professions with relation to asbestos exposure and the risk of developing mesothelioma. Today there is still a slight risk, and employers hold the responsibility of providing workers with asbestos training and health and safety equipment. Breathing apparatus should always be worn when working in buildings containing contain old asbestos.

A 2003 Icelandic study found that there was an increased risk of mesothelioma in marine and nuclear engineers. Because many engineers were exposed to asbestos between 1950 and 1980, some workers are only just starting to develop symptoms of the disease.

MJN Brief

In 2015, a case arose in the UK of a man who died from mesothelioma just four weeks after receiving his diagnosis. The victim had worked as a mechanical engineer between 1971 and 1979, and believe it was during this period when he inhaled the deadly fibers.

If you worked in buildings containing asbestos, it’s best to seek medical advice to ensure an early diagnosis is reached. Undergoing the right mesothelioma treatments can help extend survival and improve quality of life.

Compensation for Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Workers exposed to asbestos on the job who have since developed mesothelioma may be awarded compensation. Asbestos trust funds and lawsuit settlements are two options available to mesothelioma victims to obtain compensation for treatment costs and other damages.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s important to work with an attorney specializing in mesothelioma law. Contact the Mesothelioma Justice Network today at 1-855-213-3577 for more information on legal options. Or order our free Mesothelioma Justice Guide for in-depth information on taking legal action.

View Author and Sources
Sources
  1. Mechanical Engineer. Retrieved from: https://www.truity.com/career-profile/mechanical-engineer. Accessed on May 18, 2018.
  2. Family Of Former Mechanical Engineer Appeal For Information After Mesothelioma Death. Retrieved from: https://www.irwinmitchell.com/newsandmedia/2015/may/family-of-former-mechanical-engineer-appeal-for-information-after-mesothelioma-death-jq-1025147. Accessed on May 18, 2018

Last modified: June 11, 2018