In 1912, the Clark Brothers Company constructed the Dresser-Rand manufacturing facility in Olean, New York, in order to replace a factory in Belmont, New York, which burned down. Originally, the Olean factory manufactured equipment for agriculture and sawmills. Because Olean was home to one the most productive oil fields in the world during the early 20th Century, the Clark Brothers expanded and began to manufacture equipment for the oil and natural gas industries. In 1938, the Clark Brothers merged with the S.R. Dresser Manufacturing Company, becoming the Dresser-Clark Company. In 1956, the company adopted the name Dresser Industries. After a merger in 1987 with Ingersoll-Rand, the company was renamed Dresser-Rand. Today, the Olean facility is a leading manufacturer of compressors for natural gas pipelines. Prior to the 1980s, asbestos-containing insulation and gasket materials were used during the construction of compressors. Exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma, as well as lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.
Gaskets are used to prevent leakage at the point where two surfaces are joined together. Asbestos was incorporated into gasket materials used by Dresser to seal pipe flanges during the construction of compressors. Each gasket was cut from a sheet of gasket material using a razor knife. Holes were punched into the gasket to match the bolt holes on the flange. Cutting and punching the gasket material emitted asbestos fibers, which workers subsequently inhaled. After the compressors were assembled and tested on the manufacturing floor, each gasket was removed. Some of these gaskets were scraped or sanded off, which created clouds of asbestos-containing dust.
Asbestos-containing insulating batting was also used during the manufacturing process of compressors at Dresser. The batting was applied as a covering on compressor exhaust manifolds in order to protect the compressor from extreme high temperatures. The manifolds were irregularly shaped, and portions of the batting were cut away to facilitate a tight fit. When the batting was cut, asbestos fibers were emitted into the air. Asbestos-containing insulating cement was used to fill in cracks between pieces of batting. This cement was packaged as a dry powder and mixed with water, which created a paste-like substance. The cement was then applied to the cracks. When the dry mix was poured and mixed, large amounts of asbestos-containing dust became suspended in the air. Many workers were not aware of the dangers of exposure to the asbestos dust, and carried on their work without masks or protective gear.
In the process of representing workers and their families, we have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the type and variety of asbestos-containing products to which our clients were exposed. Our clients understand the importance of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer. If you or a loved one were once employed at Dresser-Rand in Olean, New York, and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation.