What are Australians doing to combat asbestos exposure?

Published 08 Feb 2017

Long-term asbestos exposure can have dire effects for a person's health. If people inhale fibres for years in the home or at work, the buildup of these materials in the lungs can lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis and a range of other health complications.

Because asbestos was so common in Australian construction for a period of decades, and has such deadly consequences for people who suffer long-term exposure to it, it's important that people around the country remain vigilant in its presence. On top of this, organisations operating in the fields of construction and waste disposal need to take action to limit its effects. What methods are they currently undertaking?

Are there national conferences dedicated to the cause?

Like any issue demanding national attention and a strong industry focus, asbestos management has its own conference where industry experts get together to discuss the main issues surrounding its use and disposal. The 3rd International Conference on Asbestos Awareness and Management took place in November last year, directed by the tag line "Towards an asbestos-free world".

In his welcoming statement, CEO of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency Peter Tighe acknowledged that both the media and public now pay much greater attention to asbestos and its surrounding issues. Due to this growing awareness, Tighe notes that it's now even more vital for industry bodies to provide a risk-free environment when dealing with the substance.

What's happening at a state-wide level?

Like the rest of Australia, NSW is experiencing a growing focus on asbestos and the dangers it present not just to people working in certain industries, but to homeowners as well.

A report from SafeWork NSW found that the number of people requesting asbestos removal work has doubled in recent years. In 2015, the organisation was notified of more than 25,000 jobs requiring licensed asbestos removal. Just a few years earlier in 2012, the figure was just below 13,000.

Can people still make claims?

There are a number of different instances that may see people compensated for exposure to asbestos fibres. With specific regards to mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos fibres getting caught in the lungs, the Cancer Council says people can still make a claim even if they no longer work for the same employer, had multiple exposures to asbestos or encountered it overseas.

To find out more about making a claim, book a free consultation over the phone or in person with the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners.