In a small garage in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, a sheet metal fabricating company was born some 40 years ago in 1974. With big-name customers being among the company’s first clients, including a well-known marine electronics manufacturer, that little company – Electromet Corporation – grew quickly.
It wasn’t long, says the company’s historian, before Electromet and its founders realized that they had outgrown their space in the small Pennsylvania town near the Maryland border at the foot of Cove Mountain.
Furthermore, their customer base was growing to include many clients in areas around the Northern Virginia Beltway (around Washington D.C.), making a move to Hagerstown, Maryland a smart choice.
That happened in 1978.
The company continued to grow, more employees were added, and now Electromet is known as a major U.S. defense partner, with large manufacturing facilities in Hagerstown as well as in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, about 80 miles from its original location in Mercersburg.
Today, the company’s mission is to provide “comprehensive world class solutions in the field of electronic packaging products and precision metal components for naval, fixed and mobile installations.”
Electromet offers full-service, in-house manufacturing capabilities, which allows them to keep tabs on cost and quality because everything is done on site at their Johnstown or Hagerstown facilities.
Indeed, Electromet is committed to delivering superior quality materials for the U.S. military and for its civilian clients as well. The company also brags about their highly-qualified team of “dedicated and experienced professionals” who provide those quality services and products.
But how important is/was the health and safety of those team members, especially where toxic exposure is/was concerned?
Electromet was founded when asbestos products were still in widespread use and simply because of what they did, the processes they used, and the products they made, asbestos could be found inside their manufacturing facilities.
Asbestos-containing products may have been used as insulation, asbestos may have been present in floor and ceiling tiles inside the company’s facilities, and could have been found in any number of other products used in the metal fabricating industry.
Even clothing used to protect workers from heat and burns often contained asbestos.
As with other companies who engaged in similar work during the early to mid-1970s, chances are Electromet didn’t supply their employees with the equipment they needed to keep themselves safe from asbestos exposure. Hence, inhalation of those tiny fibers was commonplace.
Those who may have been exposed include:
Studies done over the decades have shown that sheet metal fabricators have a sizeable chance of being diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma.
A 1982 report by the Occupational Health Program of Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City proved that sheet metal workers were being exposed to asbestos at dangerously high levels.
Another study, conducted about a decade later by the Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust, found that 32 percent of the union workers in the sheet metal industry, employed between 1986 and 1990, showed lung abnormalities that were consistent with occupational diseases such as mesothelioma. Though numbers went down when the study was extended into the 21st century, due to more and better restrictions of the use of toxins, asbestos exposure is still a concern for sheet metal workers.
Those who were/are employed by Electromet and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma should consider contacting an attorney in regards to their rights as an individual who was negligently exposed to asbestos.
Compensation IS available to injured individuals to assist with medical bills and other obligations associated with a cancer diagnosis.