Historically, union workers have been at risk for getting mesothelioma due to the likelihood of asbestos exposure in many union-type jobs. Prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause those fibers to become embedded in bodily tissues lining the lungs, chest cavity, and abdomen. This can eventually lead to mesothelioma.
Laws That Protect Union Workers from Asbestos
During the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began to pass legislation requiring precautions for asbestos exposure. The level of exposure to asbestos for union workers has started to diminish with the passing of this legislation.
Since the turn of the 20th century, asbestos has been widely known to be a hazardous material. However, many companies continued to hide the hazardous facts about asbestos for decades. This was done in an effort to continue to manufacture and sell products that contained the mineral. This has provided an opportunity for union workers to file lawsuits claiming negligence against companies that made, sold or used asbestos material.
Union Jobs Most Affected by Exposure to Asbestos
There are many union jobs that have been affected by mesothelioma. This is not an exhaustive list, but represents the majority of union jobs that have put workers at risk. These include: utility workers, iron workers, laborers, automotive workers, HVAC workers, machinists, drywall installers, painters, construction workers, engineers, shipbuilders, longshoremen, pipefitters, boilermakers, steel workers, glazers, transportation workers, carpenters, plumbers, insulators, roofers, plasterers, and electricians.
Who Is at Risk
Anyone who has had or is currently working in a union job is a possible victim of mesothelioma. Reasons to be worried are real and should not be ignored. Anyone who may have been exposed should do everything possible to become educated about this disease. Understanding mesothelioma and the related signs and symptoms is typically the first step to learning the risks of this disease.
There is a possibility of receiving legal compensation from a previous employer or product manufacturer if someone has been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Any other negligent party could also be sued to cover the expenses from medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.