Ohio River Barge Asbestos May Lead to Severe Worker Illness


Until the 1980s, marine components made of asbestos were used in engine parts, piping, boat panels, ceilings, doors, decking, bulkheads, vessel cabinetry and furniture. Asbestos was regularly used in boiler rooms and wrapped around steam pipes throughout vessels. Insulating and fire-resistant asbestos materials were built into many inland river barges and boats in Ohio and around the nation, as well as those built for sea ports and ocean use. Many workers are still in danger of inhaling toxic fibers and developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses.

Asbestos was long considered the best insulating material to use on barges and ships because it is flexible, heat-resistant, cheap and durable. However, asbestos is terribly dangerous and still leads to thousands of fatalities each year as it directly causes lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. After inhaled or ingested, asbestos fibers settle in the soft tissues surrounding the lungs, heart, or stomach, and over years or even decades develops into mesothelioma cancer.

Sea and river barge and dock workers in Ohio and across the nation have an elevated risk of asbestos exposure at the workplace. A 2008 study concluded boat and shipyard workers have an asbestosis mortality rate 16-times greater than other professions.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated personal injury lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of toxic tort and mesothelioma claims.


Where is Asbestos Located on Barges & Boats?

Asbestos was used in several capacities on ships and barges, and the majority still remains intact on vessels. Workers on the Ohio River, Lake Erie or other Ohio waterways may be working near asbestos materials if they work on or around boats at shipyards. Asbestos is commonly found in the following components of barges, ships and machinery:

  • Boilers
  • Turbines
  • Electrical
  • Insulation
  • Barge Pumps
  • Steam pipes
  • Gaskets
  • Cranes
  • Valves
  • Welding equipment

High Risk of Occupational Exposure for Ohio Maritime Workers

Although some boats may be wrapped heavily in asbestos in almost every compartment and hold, the most dangerous occupational exposure occurs in engine rooms, boiler rooms and on painted decks. But even dock workers who have worked loading and unloading cargo at piers and docks could have been exposed to asbestos materials in the past and developed mesothelioma, lung cancer or other illnesses. The following maritime positions have been known to place workers in direct contact with river barge asbestos:

  • Shipfitters
  • Machinists
  • Pipefitters
  • Electricians
  • Boilermakers
  • Painters
  • Welders
  • Insulators
  • Cargo loaders
  • On and off-board machinists
  • Maintenance crews

Compensation for Ohio River Barge Asbestos Exposure 

Each year, hundreds of former Ohio transport and maritime workers are diagnosed and treated for mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and other pulmonary diseases as a result of working with asbestos materials in the past. Current workers may be at risk of encountering deteriorating materials and former workers are still at a great risk for developing serious health complications from past asbestos exposure.

Recently, there have been very large settlements involving victims of asbestos exposure working on boats and barges, docks, piers and shipyards. Please seek professional and medical attention if you think you may have developed mesothelioma or another occupational asbestos-related illness.

If you or a loved one developed an asbestos-related illness after working on an Ohio barge or a maritime work site, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer critical questions regarding river barge asbestos exposure.