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Petrochemical / Refinery Workers

Petrochemical Refinery Workers and Asbestos Exposure

Compassionate Attorneys Fighting for Petrochemical Refinery Workers Exposed to Asbestos

Working in an oil refinery carries a plethora of health concerns, from asbestos insulation found around equipment used for boiling petroleum to protective clothing such as gloves made with asbestos-containing materials. Asbestos is also commonly found in gaskets, sealants, and insulation used throughout refineries, and it can cause mesothelioma, a serious form of cancer. Refinery workers could be exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos through inhalation or contact with skin, putting them at risk of contracting mesothelioma or other illnesses related to long-term exposure.

If you are a petrochemical refinery worker who developed mesothelioma after asbestos exposure, you deserve justice. Discuss your legal options with our experienced attorneys by calling (855) 744-1922 or contacting us online today.

How Are Petrochemical Refinery Workers Exposed to Asbestos?

Before the changes made to federal law, asbestos was widely used in refineries because of its ability to resist extreme temperatures and chemical corrosion, which could potentially cause hazardous fires or explosions due to the highly combustible nature of petroleum. Occupations that put workers in contact with asbestos include millwrights and welders, pipefitters, boilermakers, electricians, and engineers. All these positions involve a significant amount of risk for occupational asbestos exposure given the presence of asbestos in machinery parts, building materials, and even safety equipment. 

Oil refinery workers are responsible for a variety of duties, including operating and controlling refining or processing units, maintaining and repairing complex machinery, and regulating the flow of oil into pipelines. Their jobs often involved working with asbestos-containing materials, such as insulation, which could lead to dangerous exposure when cut or sanded. These tasks tended to release airborne asbestos fibers that lingered in the air and could be easily inhaled by workers. When these microscopic particles entered the body, they had the potential to cause irreversible damage to the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system. 

Asbestos Products Associated with Petrochemical Refineries

Oil refineries were rife with asbestos prior to the 1970s, particularly in machinery and equipment components, building materials, and safety gear. Asbestos insulation was used to shield against potential fires due to the highly flammable nature of the contents of many refinery vessels. Unfortunately, this hazardous material was utilized without full knowledge of its dangerous properties: It was not until much later that individuals began connecting asbestos exposure with deadly illnesses such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. Workers in these environments were likely exposed to microscopic asbestos fibers through inhalation, ingestion, and contact with skin, unknowingly placing themselves at risk of developing serious medical conditions in the future.

Asbestos-containing products that likely put petrochemical refinery workers at risk include:

  • Building materials (including ceilings, flooring, paneling, piping, pumps, putties, and walls)
  • Insulation (including boilers, cracking units, distillation towers, dryers, furnaces, heat exchangers, ovens, pumps, reactors, and valves)
  • Protective gear (including aprons, face shields, gloves, masks, shoe covers, and suits)
  • Refinery equipment (including gaskets, sealants, and sheets)
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Who Is Liable for Petrochemical Refinery Asbestos Exposure?

Manufacturers of asbestos-containing materials can be held liable for diseases developed by petrochemical refinery workers due to the hazardous nature of such components. In some cases, this liability may extend beyond the manufacturers themselves and also include those who supplied or distributed the asbestos products as well. Asbestos exposure is linked to a number of serious health conditions, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestos. Petrochemical refinery workers are especially at risk since they often worked in close contact with asbestos-containing products on a daily basis.

Some of the most notorious manufacturers of asbestos-laden materials that put petrochemical refinery workers at risk include:

  • A.W. Chesterton Company
  • Garlock Sealing Technologies
  • Hercules Packing Corporation
  • Johns Manville
  • Philip Carey
  • Pittsburgh Corning
  • American Association for Justice
  • MATA
  • The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis

How Asbestos Exposure Can Cause Mesothelioma in Petrochemical Refinery Workers

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive type of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, and other internal organs. It is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, which can be inhaled or ingested into the body through contaminated air or dust. Petrochemical refinery workers are especially at risk for developing mesothelioma because of their frequent exposure to asbestos in their workplaces. Asbestos particles can become lodged in the body over long periods of time, eventually leading to inflammation, scarring, and genetic mutation that can cause malignant cells to form. Even worse, asbestos fibers can cling to a petrochemical refinery worker’s skin, hair, or clothing, meaning these dangerous particles could be introduced and released into their home and affect their loved ones, as well. 

It typically takes anywhere from 10 to 50 years for symptoms of mesothelioma to develop. This extended latency period means victims often do not become aware of their illness until many years after their initial exposure, allowing the cancer to advance and become more difficult to effectively treat. Treatment options for mesothelioma are limited and largely centered around life-prolonging palliative care. There is currently no cure, though early detection can improve the prognosis. 

Getting Compensation for Petrochemical Refinery Workers and Their Families

If you previously worked at a petrochemical refinery and developed mesothelioma or another disease linked to asbestos exposure decades later, there is a good chance you can get compensation for your pain and suffering and other losses. Asbestos bankruptcy trusts have been set up by some manufacturers of asbestos-laden products and are designed to provide compensation to victims. Alternatively, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party or a wrongful death lawsuit on a victim’s behalf if they passed away due to an illness caused by asbestos exposure. 

At SWMW Law, we are committed to holding responsible companies accountable for the harm caused to petrochemical refinery workers and their families. Our skilled and dedicated attorneys have obtained over $750 million in compensation for our clients, and we want to leverage our experience and resources to get you and your loved ones justice. We are well-versed in the legal mechanisms available to get you compensation quickly so that you can focus on what is important, and our goal is to make the legal process as straightforward and painless as possible. Our firm takes a more personal approach to asbestos litigation and will be there to support you from beginning to end – because people matter, and your story matters to us. 

Do not wait to explore your legal options if you are a petrochemical refinery worker who was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease. Contact us online or call (855) 744-1922 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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