Have you been exposed to asbestos used in mud during offshore drilling?
Offshore drilling is inherently a dangerous line of work, and takes place in unforgiving environments. With the assumed risk of working on any type of drilling platform, it would also be assumed that the safety standards go above and beyond. For many companies in the offshore drilling business that standard is not being met.
The dangers of offshore drilling come in many forms: heavy mechanical equipment, toxic and poisonous chemicals, and the day-to-day labor of work can all present physical threats. The drilling practices of multiple offshore drilling companies have recently exposed their employees to asbestos, an additive that is used in drilling mud.
Many of these workers hand-mix these additives themselves, often without issued safety equipment, and are now starting to experience the harmful, and sometimes lethal effects of asbestos. If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos in drilling mud, our lawyers and attorneys can help defend your rights. We will hold the drilling company accountable for any safety violation that might have taken place on the job.
Harmful effects of asbestos exposure
- Lung inflammation
- Shortness of breath, coughing
- Mesothelioma (form of lung cancer)
- Asbestosis (Fibrotic lung disease)
- Abnormal collections of fluid in the lungs
Asbestos drilling mud contains toxic fibers that can lead to mesothelioma, a type of cancer.
The exposure of its workers to asbestos is something that is all too common in the drilling industry. Asbestos, despite its extreme health risks, has been used since the 1960’s as an additive because of its helpful properties to the drilling process. Unfortunately, many engineers who are processing and handling this asbestos mud are usually unaware that the asbestos fibers have been added to the mud composition.
Why are companies using asbestos despite its known risk?
In the 1970’s, asbestos use in mud drilling was prohibited, but many offshore drilling companies find ways to argue that these laws do not apply to them. The use of asbestos as an additive has continued as recently as the late 80’s. These companies are putting the benefits of using asbestos over the safety of their employees. Now, workers and their families are fighting back at drilling companies that have put workers at risk.
Believed to be an outlawed “thing of the past”, asbestos have found their way into the mud used by offshore drilling companies, and the lungs of their workers
In early October of 2009, a lawsuit was filed against drilling companies Montello, Inc. and Union Carbide. The claim resulted in a $1.2 million settlement to the widow of an offshore drilling worker, who passed away at the age of 59 after being diagnosed with asbestos mesothelioma as a result to asbestos mud exposure.
In late April of 2010, a 71 year-old oil industry worker had been exposed to bags of drilling product containing roughly 99% asbestos. After developing asbestosis and filing a claim against Conoco Phillips Corp. and Chevron Corp., a Mississippi grand jury granted the worker $15 million for damages. The worker claimed that the joint-companies “knowingly shipped a product containing inhalable asbestos for 20 years that was used in the oil and gas well drilling industry.”
What can I do if I have been affected by the use of asbestos?
These drilling companies are fighting hard to avoid claims of the harmful exposure of their workers to asbestos fibers. In many cases, the harmful and fatal effects of asbestos can take years to become apparent, and with an incurable cancer like asbestos mesothelioma the diagnosis will always come too late. That is why it’s important to stay alert when it comes to potential exposure to asbestos used in the offshore drilling industry.
There are strict regulations that protect workers from the fallout of these exposures; one of them being the Jones Act maritime law. If you do not fall under the protection of the Jones Act, don’t worry. You may still be covered by other maritime laws. One of these laws is the Harbor Workers Compensation Act. To find out if you are able to claim compensation from either the Jones Act or Harbor Workers Compensation Act, you can contact National Injury Help at 1-800-214-1010.
Asbestos in drilling mud page updated on April 10, 2019.