Oil refineries are complex production facilities that require the use of a variety of equipment, processes and chemicals. Refineries employ a variety of workers and specialists to operate and maintain these facilities. Prior to the late 1970s, asbestos was used extensively in many oil refineries throughout the United States because it served as a good insulating material. As a result of asbestos exposure at refineries, pipefitters, journeymen, electricians, chemical technicians, engineers, equipment mechanics and maintenance men have developed and died of mesothelioma, a cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos.
High heat temperatures produced by the oil refining process, along with caustic chemicals used to produce additional materials, require equipment that is well-insulated and fire resistant. Asbestos insulation provided ample protection to avoid injuries, explosions and potential fires. Oil refinery workers were exposed to asbestos dust from working with and in the vicinity of a wide variety of asbestos-containing products, including thermal insulation in the form of moon-shaped pipe covering and cement; gaskets containing blue asbestos; and asbestos packing used in pumps and valves. Throughout the course of their career, workers at oil refineries may have been exposed to a variety of asbestos-containing materials in the following matters:
- Stripping asbestos insulation from pipes.
- Working in close proximity to asbestos insulation installers who covered the pipes, boilers, tanks and other equipment with asbestos containing insulation materials.
- Scraping asbestos-containing gaskets from pipe flanges, pumps and valves with putty knives and wire brushes.
- Removing worn asbestos-containing packing materials from pumps, and replacing with new packing material.
- Sweeping the area (both floors and work areas) after insulation maintenance work was completed.
By conducting the activities above, a tremendous amount of airborne dust is emitted into the breathing area of not only the oil refinery worker performing the work, but electricians, journeymen, engineers, maintenance men, or anyone else who may have worked in the vicinity where asbestos-containing materials were applied and maintained.
Common defendants in an asbestos-related oil refinery worker case include:
- A.W. Chesterton Company
- Amchem Products, Inc., individually and as successor in interest to Benjamin Foster, Benjamin Foster Company, Inc., Division of Amchem Products, Inc.
- Crane Co.
- Dean Pump Division
- Foster Wheeler LLC
- Frontier Insulation Contractors, Inc., f/k/a Frontier Insulation & Asbestos, Inc.
- Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC
- Goulds Pumps, Incorporated, formerly known as Goulds Pumps Merger Corporation
- Ingersoll-Rand Company
- Insulation Distributors, Inc.
- Met-Pro Corporation, Dean Pump Division
- Niagara Insulations, Inc., f/k/a Niagara Asbestos Co., Inc.
- Owens-Illinois, Inc.
- Riley Power, Inc., f/k/a Babcock Borsing Power, Inc., f/k/a DB Riley, Inc., f/k/a Riley Stoker Corporation
- Sundyne Corporation
- Union Carbide Corporation
- Zurn Industries, Inc., individually and as successor in interest to Erie City Iron Workers Corporation
The attorneys at Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC have gathered a vast amount of information regarding 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 an oil refinery and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.