Sheet Metal Workers

Despite the relative rarity of mesothelioma, the illness affects those who worked in a vast variety of roles across many industries. Sheet metal workers worked in a range of construction-related trade positions that placed them at risk of developing mesothelioma.

In addition to facing an abundance of other hazards on the job, sheet metal workers were exposed to asbestos on the job daily.

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Although most asbestos exposure in sheet metal workers occurred years or decades ago when asbestos was even more prominent in industrial workplaces, many former sheet metal workers are facing health issues today as a result.

In fact, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has acknowledged the significant problem of asbestos exposure in the metal works industries.

Sheet Metal Workers and Asbestos Exposure

On top of the asbestos exposure that sheet metal workers encountered in residential and commercial buildings across the country, there were also many asbestos hazards that were specific to their daily construction workplaces.

For example, many of the equipment pieces that sheet metal workers used to construct sheet metal in the 20th century contained asbestos products. Sheet metal workers also sometimes worked in shipyards, which were often rife with uncontained asbestos and whose workers in all fields were heavily exposed.

Did You Know?

The nature of sheet metal work often involves extreme temperatures and fire, meaning that asbestos was used extensively in these workplaces due to its superior ability as a fireproof material.

Sheet Metal Worker Roles and Responsibilities

Sheet metal workers in the construction trades filled many roles and responsibilities on a day-to-day basis. They were in charge of installing and replacing aluminum ducts in homes and commercial buildings, both of which were sites of many asbestos-containing products and materials.

In addition, some other responsibilities of sheet metal workers included:

  • Selecting sheet metal types
  • Measuring and indicating dimensions on metal
  • Fabricating and altering metal sheets at construction sites
  • Drilling
  • Welding
  • Soldering during the installation of sheet metal and frameworks

Sheet Metal Workers and Mesothelioma

After heavy and prolonged asbestos exposure, sheet metal workers face a high risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma. Asbestos is not considered a health hazard if it remains intact, but this was not always the case in metalworking industries.

Once airborne, asbestos fibers can be ingested and can travel to the heart, lungs, and abdomen, where they become embedded and potentially develop into mesothelioma tumors.

Did You Know?

Sheet metal workers from the mid-20th century were not equipped with the safety gear required to protect them from airborne asbestos fibers. The invasive and hands-on nature of sheet metal work makes it very likely that asbestos particles will become airborne.

Mesothelioma can also be caused by second-hand exposure. It’s possible that sheet metal workers unknowingly carried asbestos fibers into their homes via their skin, hair, and clothing, potentially exposing their families.

Although the highest risks of asbestos exposure in sheet metal workers were during the 20th century, the risks are not completely eliminated today. Despite highly improved standards from OSHA, sheet metal workers can still be exposed to asbestos today, and appropriate precautions must be taken to avoid exposure.

Compensation for Sheet Metal Workers

If you have developed an asbestos-related disease as a result of working in the sheet metal industry, there is help available to you.

You may be eligible to receive financial compensation through legal settlements or asbestos trust fund claims. Legal compensation can help you pay for your disability expenses and other medical costs.

If you worked as a sheet metal worker and you’ve since developed mesothelioma, contact our Justice Support Team today. We may be able to help you connect with legal and medical resources.

Mesothelioma Support Team
Stephanie KiddWritten by:


Stephanie Kidd grew up in a family of civil servants, blue-collar workers, and medical caregivers. Upon graduating Summa Cum Laude from Stetson University, she began her career specializing in worker safety regulations and communications. Now, a proud member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and Editor-in-Chief of the Mesothelioma Justice Network, Stephanie serves as a voice for mesothelioma victims and their families.

View 4 Sources
  1. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), “The national sheet metal worker asbestos disease screening program: radiologic findings” Retrieved from Accessed on July 13, 2018
  2. 90.5 W.E.S.A., “Sheet Metal Workers Screened For Asbestos-Related Diseases” Retrieved from Accessed on July 13, 2018
  3. The Center for Construction Research and Training, “Medical Screening Program for Sheet Metal Workers” Retrieved from Accessed on July 13, 2018
  4. Truity, “Career Profile: Sheet Metal Worker” Retrieved from Accessed on July 13, 2018
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