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Exploring Occupations at the Highest Risk for Mesothelioma

By December 14, 2021No Comments
asbestos exposure at work

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 125 million individuals get exposed to asbestos at their workplace every year. As a result, such workers are at risk of asbestos-related ailments like mesothelioma. Many industries still use asbestos today, just as it was in the past, and you can find the element in construction materials and worker items.

There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos and several individuals can come into contact with it as they handle the various tasks they are assigned at their workplace. Some jobs, though, have a higher risk of exposure.

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a fibrous silicate element that occurs naturally. It consists of six natural minerals that make it resistant to water, fire, sound, electricity, and chemicals. Although this property makes it highly useful, the element is highly toxic.

Ingesting or inhaling asbestos dust leaves its fibers permanently trapped in the body. The fibers eventually cause scarring, inflammation, and even genetic damage after decades of being trapped in the human body.  Exposure to the element is known to cause cancer. Mesothelioma, a rare and severe type of cancer, is only known to arise from asbestos poisoning.

Asbestos was widely used in the United States from the 1930s to the early 1980s in thousands of consumer products before its dangers were discovered. However, although its mining was stopped and its use regulated within the country, it is still not banned. 

Are You At Risk for Mesothelioma?

Doing high-risk tasks frequently exposes individuals to asbestos in significant amounts. The most common areas where asbestos is found include:

  • Construction equipment
  • Insulation essentials
  • Gaskets
  • Packaging material
  • Brake pads
  • Clutches
  • Plenty of other mechanical parts

The following jobs have a significant risk of asbestos exposure:

Highest Risk for Mesothelioma

Asbestos Extraction

Processing asbestos-containing materials has the greatest risk of exposure to asbestos than any other type of work. It is highly likely to come into direct contact with asbestos when working in this job. 

Boiler Workers

These individuals frequently interact with large quantities of asbestos in confined places. Because of this exposure to gaskets, asbestos insulation, and boiler valves, these individuals have a higher prevalence of mesothelioma and other chronic lung diseases caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.

Boilermakers sprinkle asbestos upon architectural columns and beams amid construction to protect them against twisting or breaking during an emergency like a fire. Many rigging parts, including slings and chain drops, have the potential to disrupt asbestos-containing components inside these boilers, causing the release of dust containing the harmful element.

Asbestos Plant Workers

Processing asbestos materials is probably the second-most risky occupation that exposes people to asbestos. Such individuals have a 244 percent higher mortality rate from throat or lung cancer as compared to the regular populace.

These individuals get directly exposed when they unzip the sacks and place the fiber bundles inside insulated fiberizing equipment, which breaks the bundles down into manageable packages. Furthermore, after placing the packages in sacks to be transferred to the next step of the procedure, they are once more exposed to asbestos.

Construction Workers

Structural engineers, contractors, painters, loaders, floor coverers, tile fixers, highway construction personnel, and property managers are some other very dangerous occupations when it comes to asbestos exposure. It is easy to get mesothelioma when you ingest asbestos from polluted building products including:

  • Painting
  • Sparkling
  • Roofing panels
  • Brickwork materials
  • Plaster walls

Textile Mill Workers

Mill equipment tends to get extremely hot, which raises the chances of flames. Because such equipment interacts closely with asbestos fibers, they expose those who create asbestos textiles to a majority percentage of the element.

They may also get exposed to hazardous chemicals used as insulation, including the asbestos cement that they used to insulate dryer machinery frames. Textile workers are in danger of asbestos exposure since most equipment used to make textile goods often gets insulated by asbestos.

Insulators

Insulators are far more, about ten times, more likely than average to get mesothelioma, making this one of the riskiest occupations for elevated amounts of asbestos exposure. There is also other asbestos-containing construction equipment that can expose them further to asbestos.

Industrial Workers

To prevent fires, some materials used in industrial workplaces contain lots of asbestos, exposing individuals to its toxic concentrations. The most vulnerable workers include:

  • Machinists
  • Blending operators
  • Maintenance staff

These professionals frequently work on machinery or electricity and heating systems. However, since most production activities create a lot of heat, several manufacturers apply asbestos as insulation for their goods, which might end up in the bodies of these workers.

Factory Workers

Brakes and clutches, glassware, rubber, and packaging and gasket production workers all face frequent asbestos exposure. Many factories’ machinery has asbestos components and shielding, putting workers at risk of exposure whenever these components are brittle.

A number of factory products put workers at risk of asbestos poisoning. These include: 

  • Asbestos shielding
  • Tiling
  • Brickwork
  • Plasterboard

These workers also carry, manage, and blend unprocessed asbestos fibers to make asbestos items, and this is where the most exposure occurs.

Firefighters

In response to fires and natural catastrophes, firefighters may come into contact with toxic concentrations of asbestos. They are also more than twice as likely as the vast majority to get mesothelioma.

As structures ignite, ancient asbestos-containing components may emit high quantities of harmful crystalline fibers into the atmosphere.

Power Plant Workers

Power stations use many different forms of industrial chemicals, including asbestos cement and insulation material, putting workers in danger of contamination. Additionally, workers can frequently chop down existing asbestos products prior to installing more asbestos elements when changing various equipment in such factories.

Several of these individuals spray an asbestos-containing insulating layer straight into hot gear like boilers. Some of the parts that rely on asbestos insulation are: 

  • Pipelines
  • Valves
  • Pumps
  • Gaskets 

Steel Mill Workers

Throughout the steel production line, cranes frequently expose workers to asbestos fibers as they load scrap metal into containers, regulate machines to melt the scrap metal, or inject more material to achieve the desired chemical makeup.

To safeguard themselves against severe heat and burning when dealing with molten magma, workers frequently use asbestos safety gear such as:

  • Jackets
  • Boots
  • Gloves
  • Aprons
  • Hoods
  • Face shields

As a result, they potentially absorb asbestos fibers from and within these protective garments during everyday wear and tear.

Shipyard Workers

Asbestos exposure can occur in shipyards when contaminant goods and components are loaded and unloaded from reception sites aboard ships. They expose themselves to asbestos fibers from crate contents inside the crates, boards, and packing materials used to carry the merchandise. Anybody unloading cargo from a vessel or bringing cargo to the vessel is at risk of exposure.

Get Compensation Resulting From Asbestos Exposure at Work

While there is little companies can do at times to prevent the exposures listed above, they can take steps to minimize them. This is why they are liable should you suffer from mesothelioma while still working for them or after. The attorneys at Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law can help you file a claim and seek compensation. Contact us today to get started!

Jerry Sisk

Jerry Sisk

Jerry is a Minnesota workers' compensation attorney and work injury lawyer. He a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association, Minnesota Association of Justice, and Anoka County Bar Association. He has 10/10 on Avvo, 5 Stars on Google, AV Rated through Martindale-Hubbell and National Trial Lawyers Top 100. Currently, he is Co-Chair of the Work Comp Section of the Minnesota Association of Justice.