Asbestos Exposure in the Workplace

For decades, the asbestos industry exposed workers to their products while never warning them of the dangers of the dust they breathed on a daily basis. Many of these workers were employed in industry or in construction trades, where they often described the “snowy conditions” of their workplace as products were cut, mixed or sprayed. They were never given dust masks, nor were dust counts ever taken. In many cases, ventilation was inadequate.

Industrial Sites

Sites where asbestos exposure was typically the heaviest include:

  • Shipyards
  • Power plants
  • Refineries
  • Paper mills
  • Manufacturing plants
  • Foundriesasbestos in the workplace
  • Construction sites.

“…try to get the picture of a guy who normally stands 6’2″ tall. Has swung a hammer all his life and has forearms that resemble Popeye the Sailor. He has a very sharp mind and a great sense of humor…”


Trades mostly commonly working with or around asbestos include:

  • Shipyard workers; Navy personnel who served aboard ship
  • Insulators (also known as asbestos workers)
  • Boilermakers
  • Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters
  • Electricians
  • Carpenters
  • Plasterers
  • Bricklayers
  • Millwrights
  • Steelworkers
  • Refinery and other industrial workers
  • Maintenance workers and laborers

Asbestos in brakes – learn about mesothelioma risk to auto repair technicians.

Asbestos in buildings – learn about mesothelioma risk to construction workers.

Workplace Asbestos Regulatory History

Workplace Asbestos Checklist from OSHA

Special Report

Anniston Star’s series on health effects of asbestos in a region in Alabama

News Stories about Asbestos Exposure in the Workplace

Asbestos in Minnesota Iron Mines Claims Significant Number of Lives

Tougher Asbestos Regulations Sit on Waiting List

Star Tribune article: at least 52 men have died from asbestos exposure in Minnesota mines

Brake imports using fibers surge, imperiling mechanics

W.R. Grace to asbestos victims: You’re not so sick

Asbestos fight recalled

Nothing frivolous – Editorial by the Anniston Star

Bankruptcy exit plan for Babcock and Wilcox

Once Surrounded by Asbestos, Now Surrounded by Their Fears

Early clue to asbestos disease gives hope

Centers for Disease Control Says Asbestos Deaths Are Skyrocketing

A study of Asbestos in Brakes: Exposure and Risk of Disease (in Abode PDF format).

Stolen breaths: Exhibit shows the horrifying reality of asbestos-related disease.

Commercial asbestos caused miners’ cancer.

Panel urges U.S. to ban asbestos imports.

Asbestos Still Major Occupational Hazard, American Society of Safety Engineers Says.

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