The Samuel A. Carlson Generating Station is located in Jamestown, New York. Constructed by the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities in 1951, the plant replaced an antiquated facility that had been in operation since the late-1800s. Featuring four coal-fired boilers, power-generating operations expanded, with the addition of upgraded equipment and a larger workforce. Like many other power plants, skilled tradespeople were hired to operate and maintain dangerous equipment. As has been seen across the country, the workers of the Samuel A. Carlson power plant were never warned of the dangers associated with their work around asbestos-containing materials.

The equipment at Carlson was capable of producing dangerously high temperatures. Boasting four Erie coal-fired boilers and General Electric turbines and generators, Carlson employees were tasked with operating this equipment to keep power generation activities online. Other critical equipment, including condensers, tanks, numerous pumps, valves, motors and air compressors supported the main pieces of machinery. Equipment and control rooms, spread across Carlson’s property housed much of this machinery. Due to the constant use of these machines, regular overhauls were conducted to identify issues and repair equipment.

Shutdowns at the Samuel A. Carlson generating plant required the participation of numerous skilled tradespeople. Insulators, laborers, electricians, pipefitters and many other workers assisted employees of the plant in overhauling critical equipment. During this work, the Erie boilers were taken offline, and inspected for defects and irregularities. Layers of asbestos wrapped around the boiler were removed, and the machines opened up for inspection. Worn gaskets, packing and rope were removed, and fresh asbestos components were replaced. Due to the size of these boilers, workers climbed and crawled into tight spaces with no ventilation.

The turbines were also inspected during shutdowns. Considered the most critical piece of equipment in the plant, every detail was checked before turbines could be certified as in good shape. While the plant had four boilers to rely on, without the turbines spinning, no electricity could be sent to the power grid. To ensure that the turbines could operate continuously to the next shutdown, rigorous inspections checked every inch of the machines. Various pieces of asbestos, including insulation, gaskets and packing were scraped off and replaced. The rooms housing the turbines were also overhauled, with removals of insulation and pipe covering to check for leaks and cracks.

Rounding out the overhaul work performed at power plants during these shutdowns was routine maintenance of supporting equipment. Pumps of all sizes were cleaned and maintained. Some of these pumps, which handled dangerously high temperature fluids, were insulated with asbestos. After removing the insulation, workers opened them up and scraped worn gaskets and packing. Then, fresh asbestos was installed before the pump was closed and new insulation applied. Similarly, the valves that controlled the flow and direction of various fluids were inspected for defects. Worn asbestos packing was dug out, and new packing was cut, before the valves could be certified as operational.

The employees and independent contractors who performed work at the Samuel A. Carlson generating station were regularly exposed to asbestos. For decades, Levy Konigsberg has successfully represented skilled tradespeople who have worked in power plants throughout the country.

If you or a loved one worked at the Samuel A. Carlson generating station or other power plants and have developed an asbestos-related disease, including malignant mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer, please call today for a free consultation.


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