Foundry & Steel Mill Occupations
History & Background
Back before metal works plants were rebuilt or refurbished with modern
technological advancements, they were home to asbestos. In fact, any plant
that was built before the 1980s that is still in operation could still
be presenting the threat of asbestos to its employees. This is due to
the fact that they work in areas of high temperatures that are insulated
oftentimes with asbestos based products. Some of these older plants were
actually constructed with asbestos in the building materials. Some of
the clothing that was even meant to protect employees from dangerous chemicals
was made with asbestos in their fibers.
Some of the most common occupations are: blacksmiths, steel mill workers,
welders, iron and aluminum factory workers, automatic foundries, and smelters.
How Were Foundry Workers Exposed?
Foundry workers may have been exposed to asbestos used in the equipment
they encountered daily at the jobsite, including:
- Boilers and boiler covering
- Insulation on fan housings
- Insulation on cupolas
- In ladles and insulation on sand molds
- Hot tops
- Pipe lagging
Many of these pieces of equipment were insulated with asbestos. Workers
may have been exposed to airborne asbestos particles when asbestos products
and machinery were installed, repaired, demolished or replaced. Since
Foundry workers deal with scalding liquids as a routine part of the job,
asbestos (due to its heat resistant properties) made a natural lining
for gloves, aprons, and other protective gear worn in foundries during
the 1940s through the 1970s.
Foundry Workers & Asbestos Diseases
Foundry workers who were exposed to asbestos dust in the 1950s, 1960s,
1970s or 1980s remain at risk of developing and asbestos related disease
such as asbestos related cancer, or mesothelioma. These diseases can wait
many years before they rear their ugly head, which is why it is important
that workers, both currently in the business and those that are retired,
receive regular checkups. If you believe you were exposed to asbestos
in these workplaces, you may be eligible to receive compensation for certain
medical conditions you are experiencing.