From construction sites to relatively new dwellings, asbestos turns up regularly across New South Wales and throughout Australia.
It’s also commonly found in public areas where it could be a public liability lawsuit for the property owner, who could be deemed negligent in providing a safe public space.
The most recent example of this is the discovery of asbestos in both a high school and a shopping centre in New South Wales – two places packed with potential victims.
According to the Queanbeyan Age, asbestos was recently discovered at Karabar High School, which prompted outrage and questions among the students and their families. The Department of Education has announced that after an analysis, the deadly asbestos only exposed students to a “minimal risk”.
Jackie Southwell, the school’s principal, didn’t comment on the issue, but a representative from the Department of Education confirmed that asbestos had been found in the library and administration buildings. Since the discovery last week, the facilities have been closed to the public while workers carry out abatement tasks.
“Based on publicly available advice provided by NSW Health and WorkCover, a single low intensity exposure such as this would be of minimal risk, however those with concerns should discuss these with their medical practitioner,” the department representative said.
A public problem
The asbestos found at the high school may have been of “minimal risk” to students and faculty, but when the fibrous mineral was found at a local shopping centre, it was a different story.
At the Ainslie shops in the ACT, amosite asbestos, known to cause mesothelioma and asbestosis, was found in the roof of one of the businesses. When the story broke, an asbestos expert came forward questioning how the government would allow such a deadly mineral to remain the the public shops.
“In terms of the Ainslie shops, asbestos ceiling insulation is present in one premise and a management plan is in place as required by law,” said ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe.
“Inspections by WorkSafe have identified that the recommendations in this plan to appropriately manage any risks to health and safety are being followed.”
The shop has already put together a management plan that it says will mitigate all health risks associated with removing the deadly material.
Those who may have been exposed to asbestos are urged to contact compensation lawyers to learn what legal action can be taken.