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Heavy Machinery Operators are Frequently Exposed to Asbestos


Those who operate heavy machinery help build roads, maintain schools, and assist farmers with collecting crops. Despite their crucial role in society, these individuals tend to come in contact with asbestos. This is due to the different environments they work in, including boiler rooms and different construction sites.

Although natural, when asbestos is inhaled or ingested, the fibers tend to irritate the lining of the lungs. Ultimately, this irritation leads to asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer with a poor prognosis, leaving many patients and families dealing with hospital bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to the disease. Those facing a mesothelioma diagnosis should call a lawyer. A lawyer can help a victim recover lost damages while holding guilty parties accountable.

What Fields Utilize Heavy Machinery?

Heavy machinery is used in a variety of fields, including:

  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Distribution
  • Transportation
  • Manufacturing

An operating engineer is a worker who helps build and maintain infrastructures. This job often requires the use of heavy machinery, putting workers in danger of asbestos exposure. Operating engineers have a multitude of responsibilities, such as:

  • Building and maintaining infrastructures
  • Building pipelines
  • Operating cooling and heating systems
  • Working on oil refineries
  • Operating heavy machines

Another job that is at-risk is mechanics. Heavy equipment mechanics have particularly dangerous jobs. This is because they frequently clean and replace different parts of heavy machinery. A heavy equipment mechanic’s responsibilities include:

  • Cleaning the heavy equipment
  • Service and maintain machinery parts
  • Performing frequent checks to prevent potential safety issues
  • Rebuild engines
  • Tuning engines
  • Removing and replacing brakes

Where Could I Get Exposed to Asbestos if I am a Heavy Machinery Operator?

In the 1900s, asbestos fibers were often used in building heavy machinery and other products and materials. It has a variety of benefits, including its resistance to fire and electricity. These benefits made it an essential material in industries that utilized heavy machinery, such as construction and manufacturing. In the modern day, it is common knowledge that asbestos leads to illnesses. However, asbestos fibers still linger in a variety of fields.

One way a worker could face asbestos exposure is through a heavy machine’s brake systems. Many brake liners or pads utilized asbestos fibers. When a mechanic replaces, fixes, or cleans a brake pad or liner, it can disrupt the asbestos, leading to millions of particles flying through the air. This is often incredibly dangerous for the worker or for those nearby.

Another way a worker could become exposed is if they work on demolition projects. Many old buildings utilized asbestos fibers for its benefits, making it a health hazard. Most new buildings are not made with asbestos, however, some old buildings still contain it. When a heavy machinery operator demolishes a building without getting rid of the asbestos first, the fibers can fly through the air. This becomes a health hazard for the employee and for others nearby. Gaskets, joints, clutches, and engines are other concerns for workers.

How Can I Prevent Exposure Around Heavy Machinery?

Those who use heavy machinery must stay cautious when working. Both workers and their employers should actively prevent asbestos inhalation or ingestion by following health and safety guidelines. A person who is exposed to asbestos should contact a doctor immediately and look out for symptoms of an asbestos-related disease.

It is crucial that workers utilize their personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing. This equipment should prevent the threat of inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers. After being exposed to asbestos, the employee should seal off any clothing because it could be contaminated. Contaminated clothing brought into the worker’s home could lead to their family inhaling the fibers, especially if their family handles their laundry.

Employees should also utilize individuals certified in asbestos removal before demolishing a home. A demolition could force asbestos fibers into the air, becoming a health threat.

Similarly, those working with heavy machinery should be aware of certain high-risk job sites. High-risk job sites include schools, military sites, and other dated buildings. These are considered high-risk because asbestos is frequently found in older infrastructures.

How Can I Tell if I Was Exposed to Asbestos?

Another consideration is how to identify whether an individual was exposed to asbestos while on the job. Those who have these symptoms should see a doctor after the exposure. Common symptoms of exposure include:

  • Breathing problems
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Dry cough
  • Wheezing
  • Weight loss
  • Hernia
  • Loss of appetite

Visiting a doctor after exposure to asbestos can help the prognosis of a disease.

What Should I Do After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis?

Many workers face a mesothelioma diagnosis because of negligence. Most employers do not disclose the possibility of asbestos exposure or fail to provide PPE. This may lead to a mesothelioma diagnosis or another asbestos-related disease.

Mesothelioma often leads to expenses for the patient and their family. These expenses include medical bills, treatment, and lost wages. Expenses are often an extra challenge for a family already dealing with the burden of a mesothelioma diagnosis. Therefore, it is crucial that a patient and their family contact a lawyer to help recover these losses.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me?

There are two types of lawsuits a patient and their family can file for a mesothelioma case. The first is a personal injury claim and the second is a wrongful death lawsuit. A personal injury claim allows a mesothelioma patient to fight for damages against the company that is responsible for their diagnosis. This could be their previous employer, a manufacturer, or any company that exposed the patient to the cancer-causing asbestos.

A wrongful death claim allows the family of a mesothelioma patient to seek damages after the death of their loved one. The family may choose to file this lawsuit to recover damages from their loved one’s diagnosis and subsequent death. These damages may include medical bills, lost income, and funeral costs. Mesothelioma often has a poor prognosis; therefore, a death could be sudden for a family. A death of a loved one tends to leave a financial burden on a family, especially if the deceased was the family’s provider.

After a lawyer is contacted, the lawyer will begin an investigation process. This investigation helps identify which parties could be considered liable for the patient’s diagnosis. The lawyer may look at different databases or talk to witnesses that may know more information. When the guilty parties are identified, the lawyer will ask the patient or their family for a testimony.

Once all the information is obtained, the lawyer will file the lawsuit. These cases often end in a manufacturing company or construction company providing a settlement offer. This offer will likely change depending on the patient’s damages. However, many settlement offers are at least one million dollars. Contacting a lawyer helps maximize these damages and ensures that a patient and their family is accepting a fair settlement offer.

Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Advocate for Heavy Machinery Operators Exposed to Asbestos

If you were exposed to asbestos while operating heavy machinery, you need to contact our Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. Our lawyers understand the challenges that come with a mesothelioma diagnosis. We help our clients overcome these difficulties by recovering and maximizing damages for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Contact us online or call us at 215-569-4000 for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County.