North Dansville, in Livingston County, New York, is about sixty miles south of Rochester in the western Finger Lakes region. Until February 2003, the town was home to a manufacturing plant owned by Foster Wheeler. This plant produced steel boilers and other products related to industrial heating. Hundreds of people were employed at the Foster Wheeler factory. Unfortunately for those employed at the site, Foster Wheeler’s plant contained asbestos materials and equipment prior to the 1980s. The company also produced its own asbestos-containing equipment including boilers and tanks. This has resulted in cases of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases being diagnosed in former employees of Foster Wheeler’s Dansville, NY plant and in people who worked with Foster Wheeler equipment.
In addition to Foster Wheeler, the companies who sold asbestos to Foster Wheeler’s Dansville plant knowingly exposed workers to asbestos, and never warned them of the dangers. If you worked at this site and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is your right to seek compensation from these asbestos manufacturers. Belluck & Fox has successfully represented victims of mesothelioma who worked at this factory, including laborers, welders, and crane operators. Because of our knowledge about this factory, we already have documents regarding the purchase and use of asbestos equipment at Foster Wheeler, photographs and maps of the site, and prior testimony about conditions at the plant. This knowledge is advantageous when representing clients who worked at Foster Wheeler. We encourage mesothelioma victims who worked at the Dansville Foster Wheeler factory to Contact Us immediately for a free consultation.
Foster Wheeler was formed in 1927 following a merger between the Wheeler Condenser & Engineering Company and Power Specialty Company. Both of these businesses had specialized in heating equipment and boilers. At the time of its inception, Foster Wheeler had a focus on engineering and construction projects but was involved in the manufacture of heating equipment, such as boilers and boiler components, steam generators, and surface condensers. Foster Wheeler’s modern business operations are split into two entities within the company: The Global E & C Group is responsible for the company’s engineering and construction projects, while the Global Power Group handles the company’s energy production business. Between the two groups, Foster Wheeler employs over 14,000 people worldwide and maintains operating revenues of around $5 billion per year.
Foster Wheeler’s Dansville Plant Used Asbestos
Workers who were employed at Foster Wheeler’s Dansville manufacturing complex were exposed to asbestos in many ways. Asbestos was commonly used in equipment and was found in materials throughout the plant. Because Foster Wheeler manufac
tured products with asbestos gaskets, packing, and other materials, these products were present at Foster Wheeler in Dansville.
The plant was a 250,000 square foot facility located at the northwest corner of Dansville. The complex consisted mainly of several long, interconnected buildings that housed a steel fabricating shop, a foundry, two “tube shops,” and a machine shop. In manufacturing plants of this type, much of the need for heat and hot water is handled on site in large industrial boilers. These large, metal vessels heat water to generate steam, which is used throughout the plant’s operations. Asbestos was used to insulate these boilers. The boilers were attached to many pipes, pumps, and valves, which used asbestos as insulation. Asbestos gaskets and packing were used to create seals between the metal components and often had to be cut to size on site, releasing asbestos fibers. The boilers were attached to turbines, which used the steam produced in the boilers to generate power. These turbines, as well as other electrical components, were made using asbestos. When this equipment needed to be repaired or underwent regular maintenance, the asbestos was removed by scraping and wire-brushing, which would release asbestos dust into the air. The asbestos then needed to be reapplied, often requiring raw asbestos powder to be mixed into cement. Pouring water directly into this asbestos powder would send millions of microscopic fibers airborne, which the workers at the plant would inhale or ingest.
The foundry is where the steel used in Foster Wheeler products was produced. Special furnaces that would reach extremely high temperatures used asbestos brick, insulation, and refractory, as did the coke ovens used in the steelmaking process. Hot tops, vessels used for covering ingot molds and removing impurities as steel cools, were insulated using asbestos.
There were a number of areas devoted to fabricating at the Dansville plant, and the avenues of asbestos exposure at these were very similar to one another. The steel fabricating shop at Dansville was where large sheets of steel would be cut, shaped, and assembled. Workers would use asbestos in sheets or boards, which would be cut to shape for a number of purposes, including gaskets. Asbestos tape was then used to hold gaskets in place and keep various components together. A great deal of asbestos insulation and panels were used during the welding process, to deal with the intense heat and electricity generated during arc welding.
The two “tube shops” at the Foster Wheeler factory were buildings in which the inner workings of Foster Wheeler’s heating products were fabricated. In these areas, the long, seamless tubes that would be housed within the steel shells of Foster Wheeler boilers were welded together into large tube panels.
These advanced tube designs allowed for boilers to become larger and more efficient. Foster Wheeler’s tube shops exposed workers in much the same way as in the steel fabricating shop. There was asbestos sheet, tape, pumps, valves, and insulated pipe present in these buildings. Asbestos clothing was used to guard welders from heat and sparks.
The Dansville plant had a machine shop for fabricating other miscellaneous parts and components needed for boilers and heating equipment. Lathes, drill presses, and milling machines cut and shaped steel. These machines often used brakes made with asbestos brake pads prior to the 1980s.
Asbestos exposure was especially likely when asbestos was used in this manner because brakes undergo a great deal of wear due to the heat and friction inherent in their function. When these brakes wore down, dust and fibers were released into the air of the plant.
Construction exposed many workers to asbestos at this factory. Materials such as insulation, tiles, shingles, fireproofing spray, and drywall were made from asbestos prior to the 1980s. As new areas of the plant were built, repaired, and demolished, the asbestos used in these construction materials was released into the air as breathable dust.
Asbestos Products Made at Foster Wheeler
Prior to the 1980s, Foster Wheeler manufactured a number of product lines intended for use with asbestos parts, including boilers, steam generators, surface condensers, and steam drums. These products were specifically made to utilize asbestos materials, such as asbestos gaskets, packing, insulation, and refractory brick. Foster Wheeler, like other asbestos companies, made no mention of this to the people using its products, nor did it print warnings on the product. Asbestos was known to be dangerous as far back as the 1920s, but asbestos companies withheld this information to ensure continued profits from the sale of asbestos and asbestos equipment. Without this knowledge, workers who used Foster Wheeler products didn’t know to wear safety gear or take proper safe-handling precautions. Many of these people developed mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases as a result.
Mesothelioma Patients Need Experienced Asbestos Attorneys
Patients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases are victims of a public health tragedy. Mesothelioma victims are entitled to seek compensation from the asbestos companies that made the products that injured them. Lawsuits against these manufacturers can provide the means to pay for medical treatment and support your loved ones during these difficult times. However, it is vital to contact an attorney as soon as possible following a mesothelioma diagnosis, due to the statute of limitations on the time in which a lawsuit may be filed.
When choosing an attorney for a mesothelioma case, speak to experienced asbestos attorneys. The lawyers at Belluck & Fox, LLP, have years of experience with asbestos law, and have brought many asbestos producers to court. Throughout the years, we have built an extensive library regarding asbestos companies and their misconduct. Our attorneys have a record of success, and have won over $500 million from these asbestos companies – including settlements won for former employees of Foster Wheeler’s Dansville, New York plant. We are familiar with the site and know what companies are responsible for exposing Foster Wheeler’s Dansville employees to asbestos. Most importantly, we have the records and precedence to support this.
At Belluck & Fox, we make every effort to make the legal process convenient for our clients. We will meet with you at your home, and handle the case ourselves. We will not refer you to another firm. There is no financial risk in retaining our services; we only take payment if our clients receive money. Our offices can be reached at 1-877-637-6843 or through our online contact form.
Foster Wheeler History, accessed March 2013.
EPA Reports on Foster Wheeler’s Dansville Plant, accessed March 2013.
Foster Wheeler on Funding Universe, accessed March 2013.
Foster Wheeler on Wikipedia, accessed March 2013.