Asbestos Exposure in Louisiana Shipyards

While exposure to asbestos has been documented to occur in many different industrial and workplace settings, a high instance of asbestos exposure cases have been documented in and around shipyards. Unfortunately, many of these cases come from areas with strong port industries such as southern Louisiana where shipyards employ large numbers of people sometimes for many generations.

Louisiana shipyards with documented cases of asbestos exposure:

  • Avondale Industries Shipyard
  • Harvey Shipyard
  • Bollinger Shipyard
  • North Florida Shipyard

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Inc. has specifically been named in several lawsuits including a class action suit led by Landry & Swarr covering workers at several shipyards including those at Avondale and Harvey.

The link between asbestos and marine vessels

In 1940, the safety department of the United States Navy made a difficult decision on how best to provide the highest level of safety to all members on board their ships. While on the cusp of war, they felt that the fire hazard would be the most detrimental to the lives of those serving and installed what was then a viable preventive measure: asbestos.

Even though the safety department’s intentions were good – the safety of the crew and ships; the statistics compiled on people who have since been exposed to asbestos are proving to be almost as lethal as combat itself. Although we now have a much better understanding of just how devastating and destructive the nature of asbestos is on the human body, the damage has already been done.

Specific issues for shipyard workers

Unfortunately asbestos exposure has also been common for workers in shipyards, even if you have never sailed on one of these vessels. In fact, workers in almost every aspect of the construction or maintenance of these ships may have been affected including:

  • pipefitters
  • boiler workers
  • carpenters
  • engine room mechanics
  • electricians
  • insulators
  • maintenance workers
  • sheet metal workers welders

Have you been exposed to asbestos?

If you have sailed on any ship that was built before 1980, or worked in a shipyard or ship building operation, there is a good chance you may have been exposed to asbestos, regardless of the ship’s size or purpose. Remember, this warning applies to any ship built before 1980 when asbestos was a standard safety regulation when building all water-bound vessels and not to those built thereafter, so please double check your dates.

If you feel you have been exposed to asbestos under any circumstance, it is important for you to be checked out by a professional medical practitioner immediately, as malignant mesothelioma is difficult to treat and could affect anyone including family members.

What to do next

Should you wish to pursue legal action along with the many others who have been adversely affected by exposure to asbestos, please bear in mind the courts may seek responsibility from the manufacturer of the asbestos product as well as your previous employer. Therefore, it is essential that you recall as many details about the duration of your employment as possible in order to help your Louisiana mesothelioma lawyer build a strong case in your defense.