Burgard High School was established in 1910 as the Elm Vocational School, which primarily held printing press classes. Burgard moved to its current location on Kensington Avenue in 1930, when it was renamed in honor of Henry P. Burgard, who donated five acres of land to construct the school. Currently, Burgard High School enrolls about 500 students per year, and it offers a full Regents curriculum. Burgard is known for its vocational education programs in areas such as printing, welding, automotive repair, computer-aided design and building management.
Prior to federal regulations placed on asbestos in the late 1970s, asbestos was incorporated into dozens of building materials used during the construction and maintenance of Burgard High School. Workers who handled asbestos-containing materials are at risk for developing mesothelioma or lung cancer. Over the course of nearly a century, several renovations have taken place at Burgard High School. During these renovations, workers may have been exposed to asbestos-containing pipe covering, insulating cement, block insulation and acoustical plaster. Asbestos-containing brake pads and brake shoes were also utilized in the classroom and during vocational instruction.
In the classroom, students and instructors at Burgard High School were taught how to remove and apply brake pads and shoes. During this process, students typically used asbestos-containing brake pads and brake shoes. After the brake drum was removed, students detached the worn brake shoe from within the drum and, subsequently used compressed air to remove brake dust and clean the brake drum. Before new brake shoes were installed, students used a bench grinder to sand the surface of the brake lining to ensure that the shoes fit properly inside the brake drums. Both of these processes released microscopic dust into both the student and instructor’s work area. Additionally, asbestos dust created from sanding and grinding brake parts has been known to linger in the air of a workspace for up to three or four days after the brakes have been removed or applied.
Students and faculty were not the only individuals exposed to asbestos at Burgard. Outside contractors and the school’s maintenance staff repaired and maintained Burgard’s boilers and plumbing systems, which were covered with asbestos-containing insulation. Hot water and steam pipes at Burgard High School were covered with asbestos-containing pipe covering and insulating cement in order to maintain a stable temperature within the water and steam systems. Block insulation covered steam boilers. During maintenance procedures, workers removed and reapplied asbestos-containing insulation. Removing and applying asbestos insulation caused asbestos dust and fibers to become airborne, which nearby workers inhaled.
In order to reduce noise levels in the hallways at Burgard, asbestos-containing acoustical plaster was applied to the ceilings. Acoustical plaster was manufactured as a dry powder, and it was mixed with water before it was applied to the lathe of the ceiling surface. When workers mixed acoustical plaster with water, asbestos dust was emitted into the air, which workers inhaled.
Our clients understand the importance of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma. If you were once a laborer or maintenance employee who worked at Burgard High School in Buffalo, New York and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, please contact us regarding your legal rights.