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:

  • Tanks
  • Boilers and boiler covering
  • Pumps
  • Insulation on fan housings
  • Valves
  • Insulation on cupolas
  • Ovens
  • In ladles and insulation on sand molds
  • Furnaces
  • 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.

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