Pipefitters and Asbestos Exposure
Pipefitters are most likely to be exposed to asbestos through pipe insulation, which used asbestos as a primary ingredient until the mid-1980s.
Asbestos was desirable as an insulating material because it was heat, fire, and water-resistant. It had great soundproofing qualities and was cheap and easy to source.
Before the dangers of asbestos were known, asbestos was used liberally in almost all pipe insulation.
Today, pipefitters are likely to come in contact with asbestos when working in older buildings or ships that still have the asbestos pipe insulation. Over time, asbestos-containing pipe insulation breaks down and becomes more friable, putting pipefitters at an even higher risk of accidentally inhaling deadly asbestos fibers.
Pipefitters may also be exposed to asbestos when working with other construction or tradespeople.
Asbestos was used in many different piping materials that are still around today, including:
Repairing or removing these materials can cause asbestos to become airborne. When this happens, everyone in the vicinity is at risk, including pipefitters. It’s crucial that pipefitters take extreme safety precautions whenever working with pipes in older buildings.