If you worked at US Steel, you may have been exposed to asbestos in many different ways through a significantly long time period during the company’s operation. Family members of employees may have experienced secondary exposure. Although US Steel has facilities around the country, this post looks at the operations near Pittsburgh, PA.
To talk with an asbestos attorney now, contact us today at Satterley & Kelley, PLLC.
Founded in 1901, US Steel was created through a merger of the well-established companies Carnegie Steel and Federal Steel Company. In its second year of existence, it produced over two-thirds of the country’s steel. It was the world’s first billion-dollar company, and at that time, it was the largest company in the world.
(US Steel Execs)
Currently, the company has plants in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Historically, its reach was even broader.
The Pennsylvania US Steel facilities include the Mon Valley Works (short for Monongahela Valley) facilities at the following locations:
- Clairton Plant in Clairton
- Edgar Thomson Plant in Braddock
- Fairless Plant in Fairless Hills
- Irvin Plant in West Mifflin
- Duquesne Steel Works (shut down in 1984)
In contemporary times, the company is still the second-largest steel producer in the United States. However, even though it has expanded internationally over the last 20 years, it is only about the 38th biggest steel company in the world.
Employees of US Steel In Pennsylvania were exposed to asbestos through many different types of equipment and processes. Asbestos was used throughout the steel facility to insulate a wide range of equipment.
Asbestos was used to insulate pipes for steam, hot water, and chemicals. The coke ovens that turned coke into coal contained asbestos. Additionally, the furnaces where the steel was manufactured were lined with fire brick, a refractory material used as insulation. Even ceiling and floor tiles contain asbestos.
(Blast Furnace at Duquesne Steel Works)
Additionally, the hots tops that covered the steel molds and helped keep out contaminants also contained asbestos. When they got very hot, these tops would become ashy and the asbestos would get released into the air.
Ironically, even employees’ protective clothing such as gloves, aprons, and welding coats also contained asbestos. At one point, the welding rods contained asbestos. The brakes on the railroad cars that brought in the raw materials also contained asbestos.
Nearly anyone who worked at US Steel was likely exposed to asbestos. The people who built the plant, maintained its equipment, or worked around the asbestos in the plant were likely to be exposed. That includes employees in the following positions:
- Dust collectors
- Furnace operators
- Maintenance workers
- Outside contractors
- Train operators
The above is not an exhaustive list. Managers and administrators may also have been exposed if they were in unloading, production, or shipping areas on a regular basis.
In Pennsylvania, you can bring an asbestos injury lawsuit against your former employer as long as you are diagnosed more than 300 weeks after exposure. This is just under six years, and the latency period for asbestos is usually 10 years or more. That means that most former employees of US Steel who contract mesothelioma can bring a lawsuit against this company.
If you are diagnosed in fewer than 300 weeks after working for the company — for instance, this may happen if you were exposed early in your career or if you were diagnosed with lung cancer due to asbestos exposure. In this situation, you can pursue compensation through the state’s workers’ compensation program. However, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against one of the suppliers or manufacturers of the asbestos-laden products.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you need to focus on your medical care and quality of life, but we can focus on your legal rights. US Steel knew the risks of asbestos, but the company continued to expose its employees, their families, and the company’s contractors to asbestos.
People who contracted mesothelioma or other serious illnesses due to exposure at US Steel may be entitled to compensation for medical treatment, lost work, pain and suffering, and other losses. To get help, contact us at Satterley & Kelley, PLLC today. We’ll talk with you about your situation and help you decide if you should bring forward a lawsuit.