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Workers in certain industries at higher risk of asbestos exposure

Suffering a workplace injury or illness can be, at the very least, inconvenient and painful. Workers may have to seek medical care and have to miss several days of work as a result. But in some cases, the result of a health problem suffered at work is that a person's life is in danger.

This is often the situation that workers who have been exposed to asbestos are faced with. Asbestos is a toxic fiber that, when breathed in or ingested, can do serious damage to a person's body. People who have been exposed to asbestos can develop lung cancer, asbestosis or mesothelioma, which can prove to be fatal. It can be important for people to know that there are certain occupations where the risk of exposure is higher than for others.

Asbestos was and is commonly used as a fireproofing agent in materials like floor tiles, insulation and siding and in parts that endure high heat or friction levels, like gaskets, brakes and pipes. Some of the jobs that can put a worker at risk of exposure include:

  • Construction work
  • Demolition
  • Plumbing
  • Auto repair and manufacturing
  • Railroad work
  • Shipyard work
  • Firefighting

These jobs often involve workers using, repairing or removing materials that contain asbestos. Further, people in these occupations are often working with asbestos that may not be intact, which is when the fibers can be released and breathed in.

In cases when a worker has been exposed to asbestos, there is the possibility that compensation can be available. This could certainly include workers' compensation, which can replace lost wages and help workers pay for medical treatments. It can also include compensation for economic and non-economic damages through a personal injury lawsuit.

Asbestos litigation can be particularly complicated, as exposure may have happened decades ago and in a number of different environments due to the nature of these occupations. For legal support and guidance as a worker navigates the process of pursuing compensation, it can be crucial to reach out to an attorney familiar with workplace illness and injury claims.

Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, "Asbestos," accessed on Jan. 16, 2015

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