In Minnesota and beyond, there are numerous industries that place workers at risk for on-the-job injuries. Occupational asbestos exposure is a danger in many places. Data shows, however, that there are some workers who may be more at risk than others for asbestos-related cancers and other illnesses.
Every year, physicians diagnose approximately 3,000 people with mesothelioma, one of the deadliest forms of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Many others contract lung cancer, asbestosis and other illnesses after ingesting or aspirating microscopic fibers of asbestos in the workplace. Military workers are among those who seem to be most at risk for asbestos-related on-the-job injuries.
Auto mechanics, factory workers and those who are employed in shipyards or construction industries may also come in contact with asbestos in the workplace. If microscopic fibers are swallowed or inhaled, they can lodge in the lungs or chest cavity. It often takes years for symptoms of disease to show after the initial asbestos exposure. Initial symptoms often include lingering cough, weight loss or chest discomfort.
Minnesota employers, like all others, are obligated to provide all necessary information, training and equipment to help employees reduce their risk for injuries at work. Any machinist, foundry worker, fire fighter, crane operator or other worker who believes he or she has contracted a terminal illness because of occupational asbestos exposure will want to reach out for additional medical and legal support as needed. There have been numerous class action lawsuits filed against manufacturers and others who knowingly placed consumers and workers at risk for asbestos injuries.