Most petroleum companies constructed oil refinery facilities prior to 1978. Around this time most facility construction such as these contained a significant amount of asbestos containing materials. Notably, construction teams used asbestos insulation and heat shielding on the pipes carrying petroleum products throughout the facilities. Since these facilities could contain hundreds of miles worth of pipes crisscrossing throughout working areas, employees faced a high risk of asbestos exposure.
These asbestos exposure risks only increased during periods of construction or repair. For instance, Hurricanes Ike and Gustav caused millions of dollars in damage to oil refinery facilities along the Gulf of Mexico. Workers entering the facilities to make repairs inevitably risked asbestos exposure from damaged insulation.
Maintenance workers at oil refineries face a comparatively high risk. Since they must enter tight spaces in aging areas of facilities and directly repair asbestos-containing insulations and other materials, they risk high levels of asbestos exposure.
Oil Refinery Workers Asbestos Exposure and Related Cancer Risk
Owing to high levels of potential asbestos exposure, oil refinery workers exhibit a higher-than-usual lung and pleural cancer rates. One study notes that Italian oil refinery workers employed for at least ten years were 319 times more likely to die of asbestos-related cancers than the typical population. As mentioned above, maintenance workers faced some of the highest risks of exposure and related cancers.
Another study, this time of UK refinery workers, calculated a similarly high incidence of pleural cancers. Members of the study were 273 times more likely to die from pleural cancer than the expected background rate. They also exhibited slightly elevated rates of peritoneal cancer.
Asbestos-related cancers like mesothelioma have extended latency durations. Oil refinery workers exposed to asbestos may have 15-40 or more years before symptoms develop.
Oil Refinery Equipment Likely to Contain Asbestos
- Insulation and heat shielding for high-temperature equipment
- Pipe insulation
- Building materials such as ceiling tiles
- Spray on insulation
- Steel structural fireproofing
If you or a loved one worked at an oil refinery and have since been diagnosed with asbestos-related mesothelioma or lung cancer, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact Mesowatch today to receive immediate assistance and a free, confidential case evaluation. You will immediately connect with our nationwide team of experienced attorneys to identify all potentially liable parties and pursue the maximum possible compensation for your loss.