Tool and Die Makers and Asbestos Exposure
Tool and die makers have highly specialized skills that enable them to construct entire machines. Unfortunately, this also means that they often work in dangerous environments.
As tool and die makers frequently worked with heat (to melt and meld machine parts), they may have come in contact with asbestos.
Asbestos is a toxic material frequently used for its heat and fire-resistant properties. It was commonly used as insulation around forges and boilers, which tool and die makers worked with on a daily basis. The insulation made the forges more effective, though it came with severe consequences.
Contact With Friable Asbestos Insulation
Tool and die makers were often in charge of replacing insulative asbestos when it became older and less operational. Asbestos is not harmful while it remains intact, but when the fibers become old and friable, they pose a significant threat to the health of workers.
A study first published in 1983 looked at the correlation between asbestos and cancer deaths among machinists. It concluded that machinists, due to the nature of their profession, have a high risk of developing occupational mesothelioma from asbestos exposure.
From 1980 onwards, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have ensured that asbestos is more regulated in the workplace, but despite the dangers, its use is still not banned in the United States.
Tool and Die Makers During World War II
Tool and die makers didn’t always work in factories. During World War II, many workers were sent to local shipyards to construct machinery needed for building and maintaining ships. Shipyards were notorious areas for high asbestos exposure as it was used extensively in shipbuilding and repair.
Tool and die makers were at a lower risk of asbestos exposure compared to other shipyard workers such as boilermakers, welders, platers, and pipefitters. But they may still have worked in areas that contained a significant amount of asbestos dust.
Exposure to asbestos has led to thousands of mesothelioma diagnoses. If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the Mesothelioma Justice Guide will help you understand your rights and know the next steps.