In this line of work, you had to frequently use a hammer in order to file the rough areas of these products, a process that made the asbestos fibers spread into the atmosphere. Applying insulation materials posed another threat to the lives of these workers as asbestos was heavily used at that time for its fire-resistant characteristics.
Another risk of asbestos exposure came from using a rope made from a mixture containing this poisonous mineral as a gasket for the boiler’s door. This entailed cutting up the rope and exposing the asbestos fibers, raising exponentially the risk of the worker inhaling them.
People that worked for an extended period of time as boilermakers find out in their later years that the exposure to asbestos fibers led to the degradation of their health. Because of their long incubation period, diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis are usually diagnosed after 30 or even 40 years, when the probability of finding a cure is extremely low.
Boilermakes were also present in the military, being responsible for manufacturing boilers which were subsequently installed on ships and submarines. They served mostly in the U.S. Navy. Because numerous boiler components, such as the pipes and the insulation, contained asbestos, exposure was inevitable, which now places veterans who served under this rating at high risk of developing a serious disease such as lung cancer or asbestosis.
Relevant job titles
- boilermaker helper
- boilermaker supervisor
- boiler and pressure vessel inspector
- boiler mechanic
- boiler technician
- bolt up fitter