Responsible for commercial construction and demolition, crane operators were and still are at high risk of asbestos exposure since the building materials they work with often contain this carcinogenic mineral.
Between 1920 and 1980, asbestos was highly present in building materials, therefore, crane operators not provided with appropriate protective equipment are prone to inhaling or ingesting toxic asbestos fibers, which may later cause awful diseases such as lung cancer or mesothelioma.
Illnesses caused by being around asbestos for an extended period occur only 20 to 50 years after the initial exposure. Therefore, crane operators are strongly advised to undergo periodical medical examinations to ensure they are in good health.
This occupational category is also involved in the following:
- iron and steel mills
- power generation
- highway and bridge construction
- industrial shipyards
In the case of crane operators, asbestos exposure can take place in multiple ways. For instance, by demolishing old buildings which contain asbestos in their structure. When old buildings are torn down, toxic asbestos fibers will escape into the air, making it easy for workers to breathe them in.
Additionally, asbestos exposure can also stem from the environment crane operators work in, as asbestos-containing objects are often moved or carried around the work site. "I was in the first division deck dept and third division crane operator on the USS Puget Sound. I was sent into the anchor room with other shipmates to grind the paint off in the anchor room using a deck sander with no respirator for days," says a veteran.
Surprisingly, asbestos may be present in the very machine they operate. Some parts of the crane where asbestos might lurk are engine compartments, the brakes in wheels, and the hoisting apparatus. Another way this occupational group may be exposed to asbestos is by moving asbestos-containing products, such as pumps or turbines, insulated with the dangerous mineral.
Even nowadays, crane operators are unfortunately not spared the danger of asbestos exposure, as they are often assigned the task of demolishing old buildings that contain asbestos. Moreover, those who worked at Ground Zero after the 9/11 terrorist attacks were exposed to high amounts of airborne asbestos fibers, too, if they did not wear respirators. Ideally, a building has to have asbestos removed from it before being demolished, so the risk of crane operators being in contact with carcinogenic fibers is minimal.
Veterans who were crane operators during World War II should pay special attention to their health, as asbestos was employed in tremendous amounts in shipbuilding during that period. If you were a crane operator during the middle of the last century and have a cancerous diagnosis, you can easily recover the financial compensation you deserve with the help of a specialized attorney. We can help by putting you in touch with legal experts ready to assist your case.