Plumbers often work in cramped and dangerous conditions to ensure that air, water steam and other materials travel safely inside pipes. One danger that is too often taken for granted in this industry is asbestos. Asbestos mining stopped in the US in 2002. However asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are still common in older buildings across the United States. This poses a dangerous risk for plumbers, as it has been proven that when ACMs are grinded, drilled, cut or simply eroded away with time they release fibers that lead to mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Asbestos in the Workplace
Specific asbestos-containing materials that plumbers may work with include:
- Thermal Insulation
- Pipe Block
- Valves and Gaskets
- Spray Pipe Coating
- Welding Rods
- Joint Compound
It is important to note that the age of a building a plumber is working in, and the age of the parts he is working with, are significant factors in the likelihood of asbestos exposure. In 1989, the EPA issued the Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule, which imposed a full ban on the mining of asbestos and its use in building and safety materials. This means any plumbing material or building made before 1989 has a higher risk of containing asbestos. Although, even with new piping material, asbestos exposure still poses a threat. Some countries, such as Brazil, still mine asbestos today and incorporate its use in building materials.
After Asbestos Exposure
If you know you’ve been exposed to asbestos it is crucial that you inform your supervisor immediately and seek asbestos screening from a medical professional. The likelihood contracting mesothelioma or asbestosis goes up significantly for those who postpone a medical examination and treatment after being exposed to asbestos. So, please do not hesitate to seek medical help after asbestos injury (or any other work related injury for that matter).
Mesothelioma is a debilitating condition which can leave plumbers physically, financially and emotionally drained. There is no reason for plumbers to be exposed to asbestos in the US, as there are many safe alternatives to asbestos. Fortunately, compensation is possible for nearly every case of asbestos exposure.
Gathering Evidence for Your Mesothelioma Claim
The first step to asbestos-injury compensation is establishing facts and building evidence to support your case in a process known as “discovery”. Your part in this process is to accumulate any physical evidence that you were exposed to asbestos, that someone knew that asbestos was present in your workplace, and that you have suffered financial, physical or psychological damages as a result. An effective way of helping the discovery process is to create a portfolio of records, bills, letters, emails, photos, witness contact information and anything else that could be used to show how much your injury has cost you and that someone could have reasonably known asbestos was present when you were exposed. You should also keep a journal of your obstacles, thoughts and feelings that relate to your asbestos exposure, as this can also be used as evidence in your case later on.
Contact an experienced asbestos injury law firm as soon as you can after receiving a medical examination for asbestos exposure. There are several reasons why retaining a asbestos-injury lawyer is wise, here are the biggest reasons:
- Asbestos injury cases are complicated. Seeking compensation for an asbestos injury involves tracking down companies that may not even exist any more, or proving that a property owner or manufacturing company knew their property or products contained asbestos but failed to inform workers or buyers of the risks involved.
- Your first priority should be treatment. The process of seeking compensation after asbestos exposure is daunting, which is why you should leave the heavy lifting to asbestos-injury lawyers who will fight for your rights to compensation in court if needed.
- Experienced asbestos-injury lawyers are professionals. Large companies who used asbestos are notorious for aggressively fighting the claims of victims. Experienced asbestos-injury lawyers know the law and have teams of investigators and experts who provide further knowledge and evidence to help support your case.
A law firm like Smith Stag, LLC, can help you achieve justice in your asbestos injury claim.