There are a lot of dangerous jobs in the United States. Some seem logical, and others you might not have thought about. For example, loggers and others who work with trees and timber have the country’s highest occupational death rates. Fishing and hunting workers also face a high level of danger, often from drowning. Roofers, professional drivers, pilots, and steel workers are also ranked high on the list of those who have hazardous jobs. In each position, one can quickly understand where the dangers arise.
But some workers face dangers that are not so evident. Specifically, those who have worked with asbestos through the years sometimes did not even know they were being exposed. Luckily, the number of jobs that face this concern has dwindled substantially over the years. Nevertheless, there are still occupations in which exposure is a possibility. We will examine some of those jobs in this blog post.
Unknowing Exposure to Asbestos.
In the past, many workers were exposed to asbestos without appreciating the dangers. First, even when employers learned of the dangers of asbestos exposure, many hid the information from employees. Eventually, workers and their attorneys brought the issue to light, and significant safety improvements have been made since then.
Why Is Asbestos Dangerous?
Asbestos is a mineral with natural properties that make it effective in many industries. However, the mineral can become friable over time, which means it can be easily crumbled. Once it reaches this state, if it is disturbed (such as by sawing, sanding, cutting, etc.), asbestos particles can become airborne, like dust. Workers can inhale these particles. Over time, these fibers can cause serious disease and death. While both the federal and state governments have taken necessary steps to make working conditions safer for those who must work around asbestos, dangers still exist.
Occupations that Still Have Exposure to Asbestos
Over time, the government has taken action to reduce the use of asbestos in the United States. Unfortunately, asbestos is still present in products manufactured many years ago. Therefore, the following occupations are some of those that still have to worry about asbestos exposure.
- Building Demolition – many older buildings were constructed with many products that contained asbestos. When these buildings are demolished, asbestos fibers can become airborne. Needless to say, someone working in this occupation could be involved in numerous demolitions that involve asbestos.
- Firefighters – just like those involved in demolition, firefighters have to work in old buildings constructed with asbestos that may be burning and crumbling. While the asbestos itself doesn’t burn, the fibers can be released into the air when other parts of the building burn, and when parts of a building collapse. (Moreover, in the past, firefighters used equipment containing asbestos).
- Maintenance and Remodeling of Old Buildings – as in the examples previously given, these workers can find themselves working in buildings that still contain asbestos.
- Car Mechanics – In the past, asbestos was used in some car parts, like brake pads and clutches. Mechanics who work on very old cars, such as classic cars, can still come in contact with components containing asbestos.
Call with Questions
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or other illness related to asbestos exposure, you will likely have questions about your rights. Remember, it can take decades for asbestos exposure to result in disease. Therefore, even if your exposure occurred many years ago, you may still have rights today. The experienced Oregon mesothelioma attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield are here to answer those questions and help you explore your rights in a free consultation.