Asbestos Exposure on Work Sites

Asbestos was once widely used in many American work sites. The peak period for utilizing asbestos-based products was from the 1930s until the 1980s. Today, those who worked on these sites may be at risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

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Controlling Asbestos in Work Sites

Asbestos exposure at job sites threatened many workers, including those who mined the mineral, factory employees who made asbestos-containing products, and workers installing asbestos materials.

Workplace authorities like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began controlling asbestos use in 1971, but it was a slow process.

Unfortunately, over several decades, millions of unsuspecting people were exposed to asbestos in their work sites. Now, many of those workers have developed asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma — a deadly type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

Most people who develop mesothelioma experienced work site asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers filled the air of many work environments.

These workers were exposed to asbestos dust on a daily basis, increasing their likelihood of inhaling asbestos fibers.

Asbestos fibers cannot be removed after they are inhaled or ingested into the lungs or abdomen. Over time, this causes severe tissue damage that can trigger cancer.

Work Sites with Asbestos Exposure

It’s nearly impossible to list every American work site exposing workers to asbestos — there were just that many places.

Asbestos was thought to be a miracle material because it is:

  • Chemically stable
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Non-corrosive
  • Resistant to fire
  • Strong
  • Thermally inert

Asbestos also didn’t conduct electricity and didn’t dissolve in water. Further, asbestos was widely available and extremely affordable.

These product properties allowed asbestos products into homes, factories, trains, ships, and automobiles.

Many schools used asbestos products, putting teachers and children at risk long-term asbestos exposure. Work sites contained asbestos in everything from wallboard to paint.

You may still be at risk even if you didn’t directly handle asbestos-containing materials.

Many job sites also put people at risk of secondary asbestos exposure when workers who directly handled asbestos interacted with other workers and their family members.

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Thousands came into contact with asbestos on a regular basis. Get a free legal case review to find out if you may have been exposed.

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High-Risk Work Sites

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) classifies over 75 worker groups who were at risk of asbestos exposure in their work sites. The NIOSH identified the highest at-risk work sites and employment roles.

Top work sites that exposed workers to airborne asbestos fibers included:

  • Asbestos mines
  • Factories that were making asbestos-based products
  • Construction work sites that used asbestos products
  • Industrial work sites that used asbestos materials for insulation and fireproofing
  • Ships and shipyards, because ships heavily relied on asbestos materials
  • Power generation plants that used asbestos for heat control
  • Textile mills that spun asbestos fibers into fabrics
  • Demolition work sites that contained old asbestos products

Asbestos-Exposed Workers

Asbestos is relatively safe and stable when it remains in the ground or after asbestos-based products are installed and sealed. Health risks associated with asbestos exposure increase when its fibers are disturbed.

Exposure can occur when asbestos is mined, transported, used in products, and installed in work sites.

Asbestos is easily dislodged from a stable form and can crumble quite easily. Asbestos dust clouds can be hard to see in a work site, preventing workers from being able to protect themselves.

Many unprotected workers spent months and years at their work sites where they regularly inhaled and ingested asbestos particles.

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Mesothelioma and Occupational Asbestos Exposure

Although most of today’s worksites are asbestos-free, those who were placed at risk decades ago are most at high risk of developing mesothelioma today. This is because it takes 20-50 years before asbestos-related diseases become noticeable.

Many employers and product producers who put workers at risk for developing mesothelioma are now being held accountable.

Compensation for Asbestos Exposure on Work Sites

If you developed mesothelioma from asbestos exposure in your work site, you may be eligible for compensation.

You may receive payment for:

  • Lost income
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering

You can also file a lawsuit for punitive damages. Families can claim on behalf of a loved one or pursue a wrongful death lawsuit if someone has died from their asbestos-related illness.

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Learning of a mesothelioma diagnosis can be devastating for families. Our trusted legal support will help ease your burden.

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Author:Stephanie Kidd

Editor-in-Chief of the Mesothelioma Justice Network

Stephanie Kidd

Stephanie Kidd works tirelessly as a dedicated advocate for the vulnerable and underrepresented. Stephanie worked as a copywriter for an agency whose focus was communicating safety procedures on construction work sites. With her extensive background in victim advocacy and a dedication to seeing justice done, Stephanie works hard to ensure that all online content is reliable, truthful and helpful.

Last modified: February 24, 2020

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