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Occupations With High Risk for Asbestos & Mesothelioma

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on December 31, 2021

Being exposed to any amount of asbestos puts you at risk of developing deadly cancer known as mesothelioma. Before asbestos was a known carcinogen, it was used in thousands of products at many job sites. Today, hundreds of occupations still put workers at risk of being exposed to asbestos and potentially developing related diseases, including mesothelioma.


The construction industry is heavily impacted by asbestos. Many common construction materials relied on asbestos in the past, before it was banned, due to its ability to resist heat, fire and electricity. This puts all types of construction workers, builders and laborers at risk of asbestos exposure today, including:

  • Masons
  • Carpenters
  • Demolition workers
  • Drywall installers
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • HVAC workers
  • Foundry workers
  • Laborers
  • Pipefitters
  • Roofers
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Tile setters

Plasters, cement, insulation, ventilators, heating systems, shingles, drywall and other building materials can all contain asbestos. Although construction materials and equipment are no longer designed with asbestos, older buildings still contain this dangerous mineral. This puts construction workers who deal with demolitions at a higher risk of exposure than others.


Vehicle parts were often designed with asbestos to deal with heat and friction, as well as to make them more durable. Asbestos was commonly used in vehicle brakes, brake pads, clutches and engine parts. Unfortunately, traces of asbestos are still found in new automotive parts, despite a ban on it in building trades decades ago. This puts automotive workers who work on both new and old vehicle models at risk of asbestos exposure.

The Military

All branches of the U.S. military have been known to use asbestos in their equipment and vehicles. Military vehicles, tanks, Navy ships, installations and bases all relied on asbestos as an important building material. Military members who worked in construction or maintenance positions, as well as those who worked in Navy shipyards, are the most at risk of asbestos exposure. Today, military bases, buildings and vehicles may still contain traces of asbestos.

Railway Workers

The heat-resistant properties of asbestos were also used in the locomotive industry to create parts and equipment that could withstand high temperatures and friction. Those who work on railroads and in railyards today could still be at risk of asbestos exposure, including yardmasters, engineers, conductors, mechanics, maintenance crews, inspectors and brake operators.

Oil Workers

Oil industry workers are at a higher risk of developing asbestos-related diseases than most other workers. Due to its ability to resist fire and absorb a large amount of heat, asbestos was widely used to insulate oil rig and refinery equipment, including tanks, pumps, pipelines, boilers and machinery.

Power Plant and Utilities

Many who work in manufacturing, industrial occupations, utilities and power plants are at risk of asbestos exposure. Today, many power plants and powerhouses that were built prior to 1990 contain asbestos in and around components such as tanks, boilers, valves, gaskets, insulation, cement, pumps and turbines.


Professional painters are at risk for asbestos exposure due to this mineral being present in older homes and buildings. Painters have to prep the walls they are painting, but sanding down older walls can create clouds of asbestos from old building materials. They also have to remove old layers of paint, which may contain asbestos if the paint was manufactured before the 1990s.

Contact an Asbestos and Mesothelioma Attorney Today

There is no safe amount of asbestos exposure on the job. Unfortunately, dozens of careers put workers in contact with asbestos, even today. If you held a job in any of these high-risk occupations or industries and are exhibiting symptoms of asbestos exposure, contact an attorney from The Williams Law Firm, P.C. for a free consultation. You may be entitled to financial compensation from your employer, the building owner or another party.

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