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Are Oil Refinery Workers at Risk for Asbestos Exposure?

Philadelphia Asbestos Attorneys at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Represent Oil Refinery Workers

Occupational hazards are associated with working at an oil refinery, from the risk of fires or explosions to being exposed to highly acidic chemicals like hydrofluoric acid. Oil refinery workers are also at risk of asbestos exposure from pipes or machinery containing asbestos parts or asbestos fibers being released into the air when asbestos-containing materials are damaged, scraped, or improperly removed. Prolonged asbestos exposure can increase the risk of mesothelioma, a rare and incurable form of cancer. Unfortunately, once symptoms of the disease appear, there are few treatment options available, and those that are available can be extremely costly and hurt your quality of life. If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos while working at an oil refinery, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced asbestos attorney as soon as possible.

What Products Put Oil Refinery Workers at Risk for Asbestos Exposure?

A range of products and materials are used at oil refineries, many of which contain asbestos. Due to the high combustibility of crude oil, insulation, and fire protection is crucial at oil refineries. Asbestos can be found in commonly used machinery due to its explosion-proof and anti-corrosive properties. If any of the following products are damaged, scraped, sanded, or removed improperly, asbestos dust can be released into the air and breathed in by workers:

  • Asbestos insulation
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Cement
  • Drywall
  • Electrical products
  • Fire-resistant clothing
  • Floor tiles
  • Gaskets
  • Mastic
  • Packing
  • Pipe coverings
  • Pumps
  • Roofing
  • Sealants
  • Valves

What Types of Workers Are at the Greatest Risk of Asbestos Exposure?

Oil refinery workers are generally classified into two categories, including engineers and journeymen. Engineers perform a range of duties in the technical and electrical areas of oil refineries and the construction of a facility. Engineers must have a four-year college degree in chemical, civil, electrical, industrial, materials, mechanical, software, or structural engineering. Journeymen do not require a college degree but are still considered skilled workers. They begin as apprentices and work their way up the hierarchy. Journeymen positions include boilermakers, pump operators, control panel operators, ironworkers, and welders. While engineers are more likely to be exposed to asbestos in machinery, journeymen are more likely to be exposed through building components.

In addition to the workers, family members of oil refinery workers can also be exposed to asbestos if their clothing has asbestos dust on it and family members handle or launder it. Secondary asbestos exposure can cause asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. It is also the primary cause of mesothelioma in women.

Are Oil Refinery Workers at Greater Risk for Mesothelioma?

Unfortunately, oil refineries have been exposing workers to asbestos since the early 1900s. Even today, while the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has regulations protecting workers from asbestos, it is still widely used. Studies have found a connection between mesothelioma development and individuals working at oil refineries. According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, oil refinery workers are more than three times more likely to develop mesothelioma than the general population. A 2017 study examined mesothelioma mortality rates in 200 industries. They found that oil refineries had the highest mesothelioma proportionate mortality ratio (PMR) of all industries studied, which means that oil refinery workers had higher mesothelioma-related death rates than other industries.

Am I Entitled to Financial Compensation if I Was Exposed to Asbestos?

If you have worked at an oil refinery and were diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you may be entitled to financial compensation by filing a mesothelioma claim. A successful claim will ensure that you recover the financial compensation you need to get the medical care you need. These cases can be complicated since mesothelioma is often diagnosed years or even decades after you were exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Fortunately, you have legal options that will allow you and your family to recover financial compensation, including:

  • Asbestos trust fund claim: Companies established and funded special truck funds once the dangers and health risks associated with asbestos became common knowledge. These funds are meant to compensate individuals who were harmed or developed a serious illness after being exposed to asbestos or asbestos-containing products.
  • Personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit: Oil refinery workers may also pursue a civil claim against a solvent company that was negligent in the way it produced, distributed, or used asbestos.

Depending on the unique details of your case, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the following:

  • All medical expenses associated with your illness, including hospital bills, follow-up doctor’s appointments, prescription medication, and other medical costs
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost wages if your illness prevents you from being able to return to work
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Other economic or non-economic losses

Philadelphia Asbestos Attorneys at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Represent Oil Refinery Workers

If you work at an oil refinery and you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another serious illness after being exposed to asbestos, it is highly recommended that you contact our Philadelphia asbestos attorneys at Brookman, Rosenberg, & Sandler. We will thoroughly investigate the details of your case and determine whether your employer was negligent in some way and should have taken steps to protect you from asbestos exposure. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 215-569-4000 or contact us online. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, Philadelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.