Free Mesothelioma Information Packet

Oil Refinery Workers

oilrefinery

Oil refineries are industrial factories that refine and process crude oil into various petroleum products, including gasoline, heating oil, diesel, and kerosene. The majority of oil refining factories are very large complexes with many adjoining buildings and far-reaching piping to transport fluids between structures.

Oil refinery workers are critical to the nation's economy. In a country dependent on petroleum, these workers perform vital jobs to keep the nation running smoothly.

Oil refinery jobs are and have always been dangerous. Petroleum is highly flammable and can explode easily, causing damaging fires that may even claim lives. That is why, during the days before the asbestos warnings of the 1970s, the industry made wide use of asbestos as insulation at refineries around the country.

Oil Refinery Workers and Asbestos

For decades, any sort of vessel that held highly-flammable material was insulated with asbestos, so the dangerous material was once found in multiple locations throughout refineries, not just in the U.S. but in many countries around the world. Processes that required high temperature and high pressure, often performed at refineries, also involved asbestos-lined steam and process pipelines. Indeed, any number of items found at a refinery might have contained asbestos, including:

  • Pipes
  • Tanks
  • Reactors
  • Heat Exchangers
  • Boilers
  • Roasters
  • Ovens
  • Driers
  • Furnaces
  • Pumps

Workers who toiled amongst these machines or vessels were constantly exposed to their asbestos parts or insulation. Furthermore, refinery workers were usually responsible for the repair and upkeep of these items as well, so they often came in contact with damaged asbestos which, when handled, caused dangerous asbestos fibers to be released into the air which were then inhaled by those in the vicinity.

In addition, many refinery workers wore protective clothing that was made from asbestos-containing materials. This clothing included gloves, aprons, pants, shoe covers, and even face masks. Any damage to this protective gear could have resulted in the inhalation of fibers, especially among those wearing asbestos face masks while on-the-job.

The rate of asbestos cancer among refinery employees who worked in the profession prior to the asbestos warnings of the 1970s is considerable. Oil refinery workers have been diagnosed with such diseases as pleural plaques, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. Sadly, though many refinery managers knew about the dangers of asbestos, workers were often not warned and several decades later, many are paying the price with their lives.

For more information about the environmental and health effects of US Oil Refineries, please Click Here

The oil refineries within the United States were constructed before 1976, several years before federal asbestos regulations were put into place. Thirty-two U.S. states are home to oil refineries. Below is a list of all the oil refineries within the U.S. If you have worked at any of these oil refineries and suspect that you may have been exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos, it is advisable to consult with a physician to assess your risk of eventually developing mesothelioma.

US Oil Refineries By State

Alabama

Alaska

California

Colorado

Delaware

Georgia

Hawaii

Illinois

Indiana

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Montana

New Jersey

New Mexico

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Pennsylvania

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

Last modified: December 09, 2009.