As one of the most essential military occupations, hull maintenance technicians would handle asbestos-containing products and equipment such as valves, plumbing, and sanitation systems on a regular basis. The sources of asbestos exposure included ventilation seals, insulation and gaskets. Due to lack of appropriate protective gear, hull maintenance technicians would frequently inhale and ingest asbestos fibers, which are highly carcinogenic and persist in the body following exposure.
The duties of hull maintenance technicians covered a wide range, such as:
- Using light and heavy gauge metal
- Repairing decks, structures, and hulls
- Installing and repairing asbestos insulation
- Testing and evaluating shipboard structures
- Repairing installed ventilation ducts
Consequently, since asbestos would be present on military ships in over 300 products, asbestos exposure was inevitable for hull maintenance technicians. When materials such as insulation are disturbed, numerous asbestos fibers are released in the air and anyone who is in close proximity will inhale or ingest the dangerous mineral.
A military rating that had to perform similar duties as hull maintenance technicians was aviation support equipment technicians. During the last century, aviation support equipment technicians were responsible for duties such as preventive and corrective maintenance on aviation support equipment, aviation mobile firefighting units, material handling equipment, as well as hoisting and lifting devices. Their exposure to asbestos was moderate. However, aviation support equipment technicians are still at a significant risk of receiving a terrible diagnosis today, as the amount of asbestos in the body may be irrelevant to the development of a disease.
Relevant job titles
- aviation support equipment technicians