Crouse-Hinds was founded in 1894 by Huntington B. Crouse and Jesse L. Hinds. Located in Syracuse, New York, it is a manufacturer of electrical conduit fittings, enclosures and explosion-proof products. In 1911, Crouse-Hinds constructed its plant at the corner of Seventh North and Wolf Streets. The plant eventually grew to include ten buildings on fifty-four acres of land. Cooper Industries acquired Crouse-Hinds in 1981, and it renamed its new subsidiary Cooper Crouse-Hinds. Crouse Hinds is one of the top-selling manufacturers of electrical construction materials in the world.
Dozens of asbestos-containing materials, such as floor tile, mastic, duct insulation, gaskets, pipe covering, insulating cement and block insulation were utilized at the Crouse-Hinds plant. Inhaling dust and particles from the application of asbestos-containing materials placed workers at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Up until the late 1970s, asbestos was incorporated into explosion-proof sealing compounds and packing material, manufactured by Crouse-Hinds. In hazardous industrial environments, specially designed explosion-proof electrical conduit fittings, control boxes and light fixtures were used in order to prevent explosions and fires. Asbestos-containing packing material and sealing compound were placed inside explosion-proof conduit fittings in order to restrict the passage of gases, vapors or flames. Installing packing material and mixing sealing compound emitted asbestos fibers, which workers inhaled.
Workers at Crouse-Hinds regularly came into contact with asbestos-containing insulation materials, which surrounded the equipment they worked with. Asbestos-containing pipe covering, insulating cement and block insulation covered pipes, pumps and boilers at the Crouse-Hinds Syracuse plant. Due to wear and tear, it was common for asbestos-containing materials to be removed and reapplied. When worn insulation was removed, new asbestos-containing insulation was applied so that pipes, boilers and other equipment could contain steam and other corrosive or high heat materials. During the application and removal processes, large amounts of asbestos dust and fibers were emitted into the air. Most workers were completely unaware of the dangers of exposure to the asbestos dust, and performed their work without masks or protective gear.
Asbestos-containing materials also covered equipment that was not associated with the manufacturing processes. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) ducts were wrapped in asbestos-containing insulation. When HVAC duct insulation was damaged or disturbed, asbestos dust and fibers were emitted. Vibrations from within the HVAC system also caused asbestos fibers to become airborne. Asbestos-containing gaskets were used to ensure a tight seal between pipe flanges in the compressed air and steam systems at Crouse-Hinds. Even the floors in non-manufacturing areas at Crouse Hinds were covered with vinyl asbestos floor tiles and asbestos-containing mastic. Asbestos was incorporated into floor tiles and mastic because of its inherent strength. Cutting vinyl asbestos tiles also caused asbestos fibers to become airborne. When floor tiles and mastic were removed during repairs or renovations, asbestos dust and fibers were released into the air, which anyone working in the nearby vicinity inhaled.
Inhaling dust and particles from the application of asbestos-containing materials placed workers at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer. Even those who were not in direct contact with asbestos materials remain at risk for developing an asbestos-related disease. If you or a loved one worked at Crouse-Hinds and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.