Over the past 50 years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has taken major steps to regulate asbestos exposure in the workplace, protecting employees from developing lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other deadly effects.
However, workers exposed before these regulations were passed are now beginning to show symptoms of the asbestos-related disease—especially those in blue-collar occupations.
Common Jobs and Workplaces for Asbestos Exposure
According to OSHA, over 75 occupational groups are identified as likely to have exposed workers to asbestos in the past. Employees who worked in these jobs from the late 1950s to the early 1980s are overwhelmingly likely to develop work-related malignant mesothelioma later in life due to daily exposure to asbestos decades prior.
Occupations that may have exposed workers to asbestos include:
- Mining. Miners are at greatest risk for high levels of asbestos exposure, and those in the mining industry were among the first cases of asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, even when mining materials other than asbestos.
- Construction. Many construction and roofing materials contained asbestos before 1980, placing construction, renovation, and demolition crews at risk of exposure.
- Railroad workers. Between 1990 and 1999, railroading was the fourth-most common listed industry on death certificates for workers who died from asbestosis.
- Firefighters. Asbestos is known for its fire-retardant properties and was previously used to make clothing, helmets, and boots to protect firefighters from flames.
- Factory work. Industrial workers, including chemical workers, machinery operators, and assembly line workers may all be exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Auto workers were exposed to asbestos in brake linings for decades, while mechanics could have inhaled fibers during brake repair and pad replacement.
- Energy. Power plant workers and electricians are commonly exposed to asbestos pipe insulation and fireproofing sprays.
- Shipyards. Shipyard workers involved in the construction and demolition of vessels account for a large portion of mesothelioma lawsuit claimants. Ships and shipyards built by the United States Navy were previously constructed with asbestos-containing products, placing U.S. Navy veterans who served before 1980 at risk.
- Military service. Studies have shown that initial exposure to asbestos likely occurred during military service. Military veterans with mesothelioma may be entitled to assistance through the Department of Veterans Affairs, and by filing a lawsuit against the companies that produced the asbestos materials.
The attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault understand that a cancer diagnosis can be frightening and overwhelming and that you're entitled to the best of care. We work on a contingency fee basis, allowing you to get the legal help you need and not pay anything for our services until your claim is settled.