01. Asbestos Risk for Machine Operators
How Are Machine Operators Exposed to Asbestos?
Occupational asbestos exposure is an ongoing concern for machine operators. Before the 1980s, asbestos was commonly used in machinery, equipment and construction materials. The mineral was used to fireproof and strengthen machinery.
Facts About Machine Operators
- 1,229,700 machine operators in the United States (2019)
- Asbestos Exposure: Previous and ongoing exposure risk
- Asbestos-Related Disease Risk: High
- Similar Occupations: Foreman, metal worker, construction worker
Machine operators came in contact with asbestos-containing materials during construction and demolition projects. They also risked asbestos exposure during machinery maintenance and repair.
Machinists were responsible for scraping old asbestos gaskets and installing new ones. This process caused asbestos fibers to become airborne. Airborne asbestos fibers may be inhaled or ingested by nearby workers.
If asbestos fibers embed in the organs, it can lead to asbestos-related diseases.
What Asbestos Products Put Machine Operators at Risk?
Machine operators frequently handled asbestos products and parts. Asbestos was added to products because of its durable and heat-resistant qualities. Asbestos-containing parts in machinery helped the equipment withstand high heat.
Machine operators may have handled asbestos-containing gaskets and other parts during maintenance. These workers could have experienced asbestos exposure from:
- Asbestos blankets
- Brake linings
- Brake pads
Asbestos manufacturers also supplied asbestos products to many other companies. Machine operators at steel mills, industrial plants and construction sites were at risk from asbestos products.
Common Places Asbestos Is Found in the Machine Operation Industry
Asbestos was a popular additive to building materials and machinery. Locations that often exposed machine operators include:
Before the 1970s, employers at these sites did not protect machine operators from potential exposure. Workers were also unaware of the health effects of asbestos.
Today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has rules to protect those at risk of asbestos exposure. For example, workers are now required to wear protective equipment in high-risk areas.
Machine Operators and At-Risk Trades
A variety of machine operators are at high risk of occupational asbestos exposure. At-risk trades in the machine operators industry include:
- Bulldozer operators
- Construction workers
- Crane operators
- Drill press operators
- Factory workers
- Freight and material handlers
- Grinding machine operators
- Mixing operators
- Operating engineers
- Power plant workers
- Road machine operators
- Sheet metal workers
- Shipyard workers
- Tool and die makers
Family members of individuals in the above trades may also experience asbestos exposure. Secondhand asbestos exposure occurs when machine operators bring home asbestos dust on their clothing, creating a risk for loved ones.
Spouses and other family members who develop an asbestos disease may file a mesothelioma claim or lawsuit against the responsible groups.
02. Mesothelioma Risk for Machine Operators
Mesothelioma Risk for Machine Operators
According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), machine operators have presumed asbestos exposure before 1995. Workers exposed to asbestos before 1995 may still develop mesothelioma due to the disease’s long latency period.
Documentation from the DOL also shows a variety of machine operators have elevated proportionate mortality ratios (PMR) for mesothelioma. This means machine operators had higher death rates from mesothelioma than the general population.
Machine operators with a known history of asbestos exposure should watch for mesothelioma symptoms. If symptoms arise, it’s important to seek professional medical help right away. Early detection may allow for more treatment options and a more favorable prognosis.
03. Compensation for Machine Operators
Compensation for Victims of Occupational Asbestos Exposure
Machine operators who develop mesothelioma may contact a law firm to determine the most beneficial legal options. Mesothelioma lawyers have years of experience obtaining financial compensation for mesothelioma patients.
Machinist Exposed to Asbestos Receives Compensation
A 78-year-old machinist from Illinois received approximately $627,358 in financial compensation. During his career, he worked at various places, including Kelsey Hayes Company and Fairway Ford. His time at these worksites led to asbestos exposure and a later diagnosis with an asbestos illness.
Machine operators who develop an asbestos-related disease should seek legal assistance from an experienced law firm. Attorneys can explain filing options and eligibility for different types of asbestos claims.