Steel Mill Workers
Steel workers and contractors working in steel mills understand that conditions can often be difficult. Steel workers’ daily routine involves the handling of dangerous, hot materials and operating large, heavy machinery, both of which can create a dangerous situation. However, these are not the only risks to steel mill workers.
One potentially deadly hazard that steel workers have faced is the risk for asbestos exposure. Historically, asbestos was used widely in steel mills from insulation, gaskets, and packing to hot top and refractory mortar, since it boasts strong fire-resistant and heat-resistant properties. Unfortunately because the makers of asbestos products, the manufacturers of equipment requiring asbestos, and the steel mills themselves failed to warn steel workers about the health hazards of asbestos, many steel workers throughout the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s were exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos.
Those who were heavily exposed to asbestos can be considered to be at an elevated risk for developing rare, deadly asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma. Mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive asbestos cancer, can take decades to show symptoms, and could only now be affecting those who worked in steel mills decades ago.
Professionals considered at risk include:
- Steel workers
- Crane Operators
- Hot Toppers
- Furnace Workers
Asbestos Use in Steel Mills
Prior to the 1980’s asbestos was considered a go-to for manufacturers because it was cost-effective and incredibly resilient. It was used in a wide variety of materials for decades, including building materials, and was even a component in “protective” clothing such as asbestos gloves, asbestos hoods, and welding blankets.
Additionally, much of the equipment used in steel mills was built with asbestos materials. According to research from the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association, the toxic mineral was a key ingredient in many products and devices related to the steel mill industry, including:
- Waste heat boilers used in steel making and steam generation
- Coke ovens
- Insulation on pipes and tanks
- Blast furnaces
- Central boiler facilities used in steam generation
In many cases, asbestos was used in the insulation of this equipment, but it was also used in the protective clothing worn by workers operating around these areas. For example, those who worked near furnaces or stood along pathways where molten metal was transported typically wore asbestos coats and/or leggings, especially during the casting process.
Unfortunately as the asbestos products in use in steel mills, including at Weirton Steel, Wheeling-Pitt Steel, Crucible Steel, J&L Steel, US Steel, and Armco or AK Steel deteriorated, thousands of steel workers, contractors, and other employees and workers at these steel mills were exposed to the toxic fiber. When asbestos products are damaged, or deteriorate with age, they can release tiny asbestos fibers into the air, which can be inhaled or carried on a person’s clothes. When this happens, the fibers can become fixed in the abdomen or lungs, which leads to aggressive, even deadly, disease like mesothelioma.
Working with an Attorney
Have you or someone you know recently been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition, like mesothelioma or lung cancer? If so, it is important that you contact an mesothelioma attorney in West Virginia as soon as possible. Doing so can increase your chances of collecting compensation or other damages stemming from your condition. In many cases involving steel workers, asbestos exposure occurs on the job. An attorney can work with you to assess your occupational and residential history and determine where harmful exposure occurred.
That’s where the legal team at Antion McGee Law Group, PLLC come in. Throughout our firm’s history, we have maintained a reputation as a leading legal resource for those battling mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cases. Many of the clients we see are former factory workers who were unknowingly exposed to asbestos on the job. We can work with you to develop a comprehensive occupational history that identifies those responsible for your toxic exposure, and devise a strategy that yields strong and favorable results.
When it comes to asbestos exposure, there is no safe threshold. Our firm is committed to helping you, no matter your circumstances. If asbestos has affected your health, our attorneys are prepared to advocate on your behalf.
We are even prepared to travel to your home or hospital, if meeting in our law office does not work for you or your diagnosis. Dealing with rare disease is never easy – let us help guide the way. To schedule an initial consultation with our legal team to assess your asbestos case, contact Antion McGee Law Group, PLLC at (304) 807-0739.