What Carpenters Can Do About This On-the-Job Hazard
Many people choose an occupation because it’s an area they’re passionate about, it’s a family business, or they have a special talent for the job – almost like they were destined for it. But what happens when the occupation has a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average, like carpentry? And what if that risk includes something much more serious than a minor injury – something like mesothelioma?
Injuries and death are a serious problem in the carpentry field, an article from HealthDay states. In fact, the top hazards faced by carpenters on the job include:
- Dangerous falls
- Cuts and lacerations
- Exposure to dust and hazardous fumes
- Back strain and musculoskeletal disorders
- Eye injuries
- Asbestos and lead exposure
Many carpenters who go to work everyday may know in advance about their risk of falling, straining their back, or getting a cut that requires stitches. But many carpenters throughout the 1900s had no idea they were going to work every day and breathing in toxic dust that could one day cause mesothelioma and take their life.
One study found that one in 10 carpenters who were young men in the 1960s will die from mesothelioma. In particular, their risk of dying is one in 17 – all because of asbestos exposure.
Carpenters and other construction workers are at risk of mesothelioma because of the asbestos-containing products they often cut up and installed into homes, schools, commercial buildings, hospitals and other structures in the 1960s and ’70s. During the repair, renovation, removal or maintenance of products that contained asbestos, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that “1.3 million employees in construction and general industry are exposed to asbestos on the job.”
Why Should a Carpenter File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
The disappointing fact remains that many carpenters didn’t know they were being exposed to asbestos on the job, but the companies who used asbestos did. Medical researchers knew as early as the 1930s that breathing airborne asbestos could cause diseases like mesothelioma. Today, most manufacturers no longer use asbestos in their products, but that doesn’t mean that asbestos products used 30, 40 or more years ago aren’t still at jobsites where carpenters work.
The most common carpentry materials manufactured in the early- to mid-1900s that may include asbestos are:
- Joint compound
- Finishing cements
- Patching plasters
- Insulating panels
- Cement asbestos board
- Spray-on insulation
- Floor tiles
- Roofing material and siding
- Ceiling Tiles
- Textured paints and ceilings (e.g. popcorn ceilings)
Because many manufacturers and employers knew these products contained asbestos and willingly allowed carpenters and construction workers to be exposed to them, men and women from these occupations who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma may be able to file an asbestos lawsuit. This includes drywall workers, masons and bricklayers, roofers, tile setters, painters and other trade professionals.
“We have shown that the risk in some occupations, particularly the building industry, is higher than we previously thought,” said Professor Julian Peto, of Cancer Research UK. “If you are exposed in your 20s, you have a huge lifetime risk of mesothelioma.”
If you worked in the carpentry or construction industry, even if it was as far back as 50 years ago, you may be at risk of mesothelioma. We have helped numerous carpenters hold the proper individuals responsible for their diagnosis, including mesothelioma patient Forrest Wulf, who worked construction for 30 years.