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Asbestos Exposures at the Hudson Generating Station Jersey City, New Jersey

PSEG’s Hudson Generating Station is located along the Hackensack River in Jersey City, New Jersey. Spread across 200 acres of land, this site once featured two active coal-fired units, each capable of producing up to 620 megawatts of electrical power. For decades, Hudson Generating Station’s continued expansion and new machinery, like the worksite’s later installed gas-fueled turbine of the late-1960s, kept skilled tradespeople gainfully employed. Represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ Local 94, the employees of the Hudson power plant have kept Northern Jersey’s lights on for over fifty years.

The Hudson plant was comprised of several core pieces of machinery. Equipment involved in power generation, including boilers, turbines, generators, and cooling condensers, were installed throughout various buildings. Operating around-the-clock, much of this equipment was monitored and maintained by dedicated work crews who understood the intricacies and necessary operating conditions for the machines. Supporting equipment, including pumps, valves, air compressors, motors, and various heating and cooling equipment was installed throughout Hudson’s 200 acres, helping move heated and cooled fluids and chemicals to different parts of the plant.

PSEG employees who worked at the Hudson Generating Station were regularly exposed to asbestos. Between the 1940s and 1980s, much of the equipment designed for power generation contained various asbestos components. Products, like asbestos-containing gaskets, packing and seals, were found in virtually every piece of power plant equipment that dealt with power-generation or moving fluids. Due to the dangerously high temperatures much of this equipment reached, the machines were also heavily insulated with asbestos. For many workers tasked with maintenance and repair at Hudson, handling asbestos products could not be avoided.

Like many other power plants across the country, PSEG’s Hudson Generating Station regularly went “offline” for general maintenance and critical repairs. During this time, PSEG employees, with the assistance of skilled independent contractors, checked each piece of the plant’s equipment. With power generating machinery spread across 200 acres, workers systematically checked hundreds of pieces of equipment. Typically, this maintenance work was completed in sealed structures that held the plant’s core equipment. Because these buildings were designed solely for housing this equipment, adequate ventilation to handle large amounts of airborne dust was lacking.

During these overhauls, employees and independent contractors removed worn asbestos packing and gaskets from Hudson’s equipment. Because these asbestos components would degrade due to constant use and high temperatures of the products, the removal process generally required workers to scrape the remaining asbestos with a knife. Afterwards, workers would install fresh asbestos components, often cutting and shaping the material to fit inside the equipment. Research performed in laboratories that replicated this type of work environment has shown that the cutting of a single gasket or piece of packing releases dangerously high levels of asbestos fibers into the air.

Between the 1960s and 1980s, the skilled tradespeople who performed work at PSEG’s Hudson Generating Station were never warned of the dangers involved with their maintenance and repair work. The lack of warnings was particularly egregious because several decades before the Hudson Generation Station was even constructed, scientific research was already establishing conclusive links between exposure to airborne dust and lung disease. Due to the relatively inexpensive price of asbestos, companies chose high profits and low costs over the health and safety of workers.

The attorneys at Levy Konigsberg work tirelessly to stand up for the rights of injured workers. Our team of trial lawyers and investigators has assisted hundreds of skilled tradespeople in identifying their unique sources of asbestos exposure, while holding these corporations accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one worked at PSEG’s Hudson Generating Station or another power plant and have developed an asbestos-related disease, including malignant mesothelioma or lung cancer, please call today for a free consultation.

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