Often called the “Electric City,” Schenectady has been the home of General Electric’s research and development facilities for over a century. Widely recognized as the first industrial laboratory in American history, engineers, scientists and other skilled tradespeople created products that defined this country. For years, employees made advancements that still have an impact today. Creations like the first sealed refrigerator and fluorescent light bulb put General Electric on the international map.

At the end of World War II, General Electric Schenectady employed over 40,000 individuals. While known as a research and development facility, General Electric at Schenectady was much more. Teams of scientists and engineers oversaw hundreds of skilled tradespeople in the development and field-testing of new products. Projects like the design of the world’s first jet engine and America’s first nuclear power plant required the assistance of thousands of New Yorkers skilled in various areas of construction and installation.


As General Electric’s international reach grew, expansion was necessary. The Schenectady campus saw its initial laboratories double, and additional workspaces increase. Before a bulk of General Electric manufacturing moved out-of-state, additional workspaces and warehouses were constructed. These projects required tradespeople with the skills to complete this specialized work. Various trades, including sheet metal workers, pipefitters, electricians, carpenters, painters and laborers were regularly present at this site for short-term and long-term construction projects.

Between the 1940s and 1990s, numerous construction materials used by skilled labor contained asbestos. Wallboard and joint compound exposed workers to asbestos. Pipes running throughout some of these buildings were covered with asbestos pipe covering. Spray asbestos was applied as fireproofing. Caulk and cement for odd jobs contained high volumes of asbestos content. Asbestos blankets and helmets protected welders, and other workers who worked near hot applications. And raw asbestos was regularly applied as insulation around heat-producing equipment. Most individuals involved in the construction trade during these decades regularly worked with and around asbestos products.


To keep the Schenectady plants and laboratories running, teams of maintenance crews were required to operate and maintain various pieces of equipment. Products like boilers, furnaces, pumps, valves, generators, and engines were installed in various rooms to maintain continued operations. Employees who operated this equipment were required to maintain and repair the products as necessary. Such maintenance generally required employees to regularly check internal asbestos components like gaskets and valves, which were required for proper performance of the equipment. When necessary, maintenance would require removing worn asbestos gaskets and packing, and replacement of the material. Such activities produced high volumes of asbestos dust.


If you or a loved one has developed an asbestos-related disease, call our office today for a free consultation to discuss your asbestos exposure at General Electric Schenectady. Our attorneys at Levy Konigsberg are experienced in identifying the unique asbestos exposures suffered at General Electric Schenectady, and with the assistance of an LK attorney and investigator, your entire work history at General Electric will be thoroughly reviewed.


Find out whether you have a case by speaking to one of our experienced lawyers via our 24/7 toll-free hotline or by submitting an email inquiry. Our attorneys will be quick to respond to you and happy to answer all of your questions.


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