Asbestos is a dangerous group of minerals that are known to cause cancer and other serious health problems. Historically, power plants relied on asbestos to protect machinery and equipment from high heat. This puts power plant workers at high risk of asbestos exposure – and the development of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a disease connected to asbestos exposure as a power plant worker, help is available at Bailey & Glasser, LLP. Our asbestos attorneys can assist you by taking legal action against a current or previous employer for exposing you to asbestos-containing materials at a power plant. Contact us today.
Power Plant Workers and Asbestos
Power plants are industrial facilities that are used to produce and generate electric energy. In the past, before asbestos was confirmed to be carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and became regulated by the U.S. government, power plants used asbestos insulation and other products that contained asbestos due to its natural resistance to heat and fire.
High-temperature equipment and machinery in power plants – such as boilers, generators, pipes and electrical wires – were often wrapped with asbestos insulation and fittings. Anyone who worked in power plants or installed or repaired these products may have been exposed to asbestos.
If asbestos-containing materials in a power plant are damaged or disturbed, asbestos dust could be released into the air. Power plant workers could then inhale or ingest asbestos particles, putting them at risk of eventually developing mesothelioma or other illnesses related to asbestos, such as lung cancer or asbestosis. It can take decades for occupational exposure to asbestos at a power plant to result in a disease. The average latency period is 20-60+ years.
Common Asbestos-Containing Materials in Power Plants
Power plants are dangerous environments in terms of asbestos exposure due to the high number of products that typically contain asbestos in these workplaces. Asbestos was cheap, abundant, easy to obtain, and naturally resistant to heat and corrosion. These properties made it a popular ingredient in a variety of products that needed to be fire-resistant, including many items used in power plants.
Asbestos-containing products often found in power plants include:
- Acoustic plaster
- Asbestos blankets
- Fireproofing panels
- Joint compounds
- Mastic or caulk
- Pipe coverings
- Repairing compounds
- Tapes and adhesives
- Wrap insulation
In addition, the protective clothing and gear often worn by power plant workers contained asbestos to assist with heat resistance. Coats, shoe coverings, masks, aprons and mitts may have contained asbestos until the 1990s. If any asbestos-containing materials were installed, repaired, disturbed or replaced at any time, those working in the power plant may have been exposed to asbestos. This includes engineers, pipefitters, electricians, maintenance crews, scientists and other power plant workers.
Who Is Liable for Power Plant Worker Asbestos Exposure?
Prior to the 1980s, when the Environmental Protection Agency passed laws that regulated asbestos use and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration addressed asbestos in the workplace, it was a popular product used in power plants across the country. Today’s power plants typically do not contain asbestos – or else they have asbestos containment measures for worker protection.
However, this does not mean modern power plant workers are safe from asbestos exposure. They may still have to work with or around products and materials that contain asbestos, potentially putting them at risk of serious illnesses. If asbestos exists on the premises, it is the employer’s legal duty to take reasonable steps to protect workers from inhaling or ingesting asbestos particles, such as by providing respirators with HEPA filters.
If an employer is negligent, or fails to use an appropriate level of care in protecting power plant workers from asbestos exposure, the power plant could be held liable (legally responsible) for a victim’s related illness or harm. If an employee was not given personal protective equipment, for example, this could be proof of employer negligence that is used to hold the power plant liable.
Legal Options for Power Plant Workers With Mesothelioma
A power plant worker who develops mesothelioma or another illness from occupational asbestos exposure, or a surviving family member of a deceased power plant worker, may be able to seek financial compensation through one or more sources. One possibility is an individual lawsuit. A successful lawsuit could result in a financial settlement or jury verdict from the responsible power plant, company or group.
Notable power plants and companies that have faced asbestos litigation include:
- Arthur Kill Powerhouse
- Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant
- Duke Energy
- Edison Electric
- Hanford Nuclear Site
- Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Generating Station
- Pacific Gas and Electric
- Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station
- Robert E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant
- Vermont Yankee Power Plant
Another option may be a workers’ compensation claim, which can reimburse a worker for an occupational asbestos-related disease without the worker needing to prove negligence. If the power plant where you used to work has gone bankrupt, you may still be eligible for compensation through an asbestos trust fund. These funds are set up by companies to reimburse workers after declaring bankruptcy. Finally, if you were exposed to asbestos through a specific product, you may be able to hold the manufacturer responsible with a product liability claim.
How Can an Asbestos Attorney Help?
Hiring an asbestos attorney to represent you or your family during the legal process can make things easier during a difficult time in your life. You can trust your lawyer to take care of the legal legwork of your case, such as filling out and filing the required paperwork to initiate a lawsuit or workers’ compensation claim.
Your lawyer will negotiate for maximum financial compensation when dealing with insurance companies on your behalf, or take your case to trial, if necessary. A law firm will also have important connections to experts and investigators who can strengthen your case with testimony. You do not have to deal with an asbestos lawsuit alone.
Contact Bailey & Glasser, LLP Today
Power plant workers are at a high risk of being exposed to asbestos fibers and developing related diseases, including mesothelioma. If you or a loved one is struggling with a medical diagnosis that is connected to asbestos exposure as a current or former power plant employee, contact Bailey & Glasser, LLP about a potential case. You may be eligible for financial compensation to pay for necessary medical care and cover other losses. Call (866) 871-7971 today to request a free case consultation.