For several decades, factory and plant workers have acted as the backbone of American manufacturing. Whether employed in factories or industrial plants, these dedicated workers worked tirelessly to drive productivity and meet the increasing demands of society.
Tragically, factory and plant workers are among the occupations most susceptible to the devastating effects of asbestos exposure, which contributes to diseases such as mesothelioma. These workers, along with their families, face significant risks due to the widespread use of asbestos in manufacturing processes. The occupational hazards associated with asbestos in factories and plants have posed a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of these individuals.
Due to their exposure to asbestos, workers may be entitled to compensation from employers who failed to adequately protect them.
Compensation For Factory and Plant Workers
Asbestos trusts have been established to provide financial assistance to individuals and families impacted by asbestos exposure, and resultant diseases like mesothelioma.
These trusts aim to alleviate the financial burdens associated with medical expenses, bills, and other living costs. The amount of compensation available is determined based on factors such as the timing and severity of the mesothelioma diagnosis.
To access the available compensation, victims of asbestos must submit a claim to the appropriate asbestos trust. Our team of experts can help you to understand your options and access the compensation you deserve.
Why Was Asbestos Used In Factories?
There were three primary reasons why asbestos was used in manufacturing processes.
Fire Resistance and Insulation Properties
Asbestos was commonly used in factories due to its exceptional fireproofing and heat-resistant properties. Industrial settings, such as factories, often involved high temperatures, machinery, and potential fire hazards. Asbestos, with its ability to withstand extreme heat and prevent the spread of fires, was considered an ideal material for insulation, fireproof coatings, and protective gear like gloves and suits.
Durability and Strength
Another reason for the widespread use of asbestos in factories was its durability and strength. Asbestos fibers could be mixed with various materials to enhance their strength and make them more resistant to wear, tear, and corrosion. This made asbestos-containing materials suitable for pipes, gaskets, cement, roofing materials, and other industrial components that needed to withstand heavy use and harsh conditions.
Sound and Vibration Control
Asbestos also found application in factories for its soundproofing and vibration-dampening properties. Industrial machinery and equipment often generated loud noises and vibrations that could be disruptive and potentially harmful to workers. Asbestos was effective in reducing noise levels and dampening vibrations, improving the overall working environment and ensuring the safety and comfort of factory workers.
While asbestos offered these benefits, its usage came with severe health risks. The harmful health effects of asbestos exposure, including the development of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, were not widely understood or acknowledged at the time.
Prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to serious and often fatal health consequences. Although safety measures surrounding asbestos have been improved in modern industrial settings, the legacy of asbestos exposure is something that many families still have to deal with.
Did You, Or A Family Member, Work In A Factory Or Plant?
Factory and plant workers were at significant risk from asbestos exposure, and you may be eligible for compensation. We can help you understand what you need to do to start the process.Find Out More
How Factory Workers Were Exposed to Asbestos
Factory workers faced direct exposure to asbestos through the handling of asbestos-containing materials. Asbestos was extensively used in various industrial applications, such as insulation, pipe coverings, cement, roofing materials, and friction products.
Workers involved in installation, maintenance, repair, or demolition tasks often came into contact with these materials, leading to the release of asbestos fibers into the air. This direct handling posed a significant risk of inhaling or ingesting asbestos particles.
In addition, factories were often characterized by dusty environments where asbestos fibers could become airborne. Activities like cutting, sawing, drilling, or grinding asbestos-containing materials in factories released microscopic asbestos fibers into the air, creating a hazardous breathing environment for workers.
Lack of proper ventilation systems and safety measures further exacerbated the risk of exposure, as the airborne fibers could linger in the workplace and be inhaled by factory workers over extended periods.
Finally, factory and plant workers may have unknowingly carried asbestos fibers on their work clothes, hair, or skin back home, inadvertently exposing their family members to asbestos. Washing contaminated work clothes at home, or close physical contact with family members, increased the likelihood of secondary exposure. Moreover, inadequate decontamination measures within factories allowed the spread of asbestos fibers to common areas, further increasing the risk of exposure for all workers within the facility.
Research Studies & News – Effects of Asbestos On Factory Workers
Over recent decades, several research studies have analyzed the impact of asbestos on factory workers..
- According to a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2015, Belgian workers in metal product factories had a significantly higher risk of mesothelioma-related deaths compared to the general population. The study analyzed data from 2001 to 2009 and revealed that these factory workers faced an alarming 87% increased likelihood of dying from mesothelioma.
- A significant study published in 2010 focused on the workers employed at a Raybestos Manhattan factory in Connecticut. These workers were involved in the production of various friction products containing chrysotile and anthophyllite asbestos. Researchers conducted a thorough investigation and identified seven cases of mesothelioma among these workers. Importantly, all of these cases were directly linked to occupational exposures to asbestos. This groundbreaking study debunked claims made by a previous study, which erroneously stated that there were no asbestos-related deaths among the factory’s workers.
- In 1989, a study revealed alarming mortality rates for lung cancer and laryngeal cancer among workers in an auto parts factory. These workers were extensively involved in the manufacturing of drum brakes and linings, frequently utilizing chrysotile asbestos and asbestos-contaminated abrasives. Their tasks primarily consisted of drilling, grinding, and riveting the products.
- One of the most significant instances of occupational asbestos exposure occurred in the vicinity of the J.W. Roberts Ltd. factory in Armley, a suburb of Leeds, England. The factory workers were involved in the production of Limpet, a type of spray-on asbestos insulation, until the factory ceased operations in 1959. However, it was not only the employees who encountered the asbestos fibers. The factory’s ventilation systems dispersed substantial amounts of asbestos dust into the surrounding neighborhood, resulting in the deposition of thick layers of asbestos on sidewalks, homes, and yards. The fear of mesothelioma among residents of the town of Armley lingers to this day.
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- Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. “Asbestos and Your Health”. Retrieved from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos
- Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. “Asbestos Toxicity. Where Is Asbestos Found?”. Retrieved from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=29&po=5
- California Department of Public Health. “FAQs About Asbestos in the Home and Workplace”. Retrieved from https://www.ci.pomona.ca.us/mm/AsbestosFactSheet_2017_11_final-ADA_CaliforniaPublicHealth.pdf
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. “Asbestos In The Home”. Retrieved from https://www.cpsc.gov/safety-education/safety-guides/home/asbestos-home
- U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey. “Mineral Commodity Summaries”. Retrieved from https://www.usgs.gov/centers/nmic/mineral-commodity-summaries
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “EPA Actions to Protect the Public from Exposure to Asbestos”. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/epa-actions-protect-public-exposure-asbestos
- U.S. Environment Protection Agency. “Protect Your Family from Exposures to Asbestos.” Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/protect-your-family-exposures-asbestos