Formerly owned by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the Key Highway Shipyard was part of the corporation that was one of the most massive producers of steel on earth. Located at the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, Maryland, it spanned four hundred and twenty-four acres. The main focus of the yard's resources was in ship manufacturing and maintenance. The yard was closed down in 1982.
As with most yards, the Key Highway Shipyard experienced its peak during World War II, when the demand for ship repair and construction was high. During this time, the yard specialized in converting merchant vessels into Navy-ready ships. As of today, this closed shipyard no longer stands. After closing down, the space was used for the construction of luxury condos.
Shipyards generally have the benefit of stimulating local economies by employing hundreds to thousands of workers. The downside is that shipyard workers often face hazardous materials - usually years before it is understood that they are dangerous. Even more modern shipyards often repair older ships, and vessels from all sources. This means that even in yards that do not use toxic materials, employees might find themselves working with unsafe materials that were used in the construction of much older vessels. Unfortunately, many workers have a difficult time receiving compensation for these injuries as a lot of shipyards are no longer in business. But someone who has suffered health effects from exposure to hazardous materials on the job site deserves remuneration.
Former shipyard workers may be shocked to find out that they worked with asbestos, a naturally occurring fibrous material that was widely used as insulation material, before the government began to recognize the health dangers associated with exposure. All former shipyard workers should consult with a doctor to determine whether or not they are at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, a fatal cancer linked to previous asbestos exposure. In addition, former shipyard employees should fill out the form on this page if they suspect that they were exposed to asbestos while working at Key Highway Shipyard.