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Asbestos victims remembered over weekend

On Sunday, people all around the world observed International Day of Mourning, a day to remember those killed, injured or disabled while performing work-related activities.

Among those being mourned were the many victims of asbestos-related diseases contracted after coming into contact with this dangerous substance at work.

The Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia (ADFA) was among those mourning.

In a statement released on Saturday (April 27), the not-for-profit organisation – which supports those living with asbestos-related diseases as well as their family, friends and carers – announced that a delegation of asbestos victims and widows would travel to Canberra to participate in the unveiling of the National Workers Memorial.

ADFA president Barry Robson sought to remind Australians that occupational risks come in all forms and tragedy can strike at any time, even long after exposure to them.

"When most people think of workplace tragedies, they think of the people who never come home from work, but for thousands of Australians the danger that took their lives was one that quietly followed them home," said Mr Robson.

"Asbestos – the biggest killer of working Australians in our nation's history – also claimed the lives of countless partners and children because the cancer-causing fibres came home on their loved-one's work clothes," Mr Robson said.

Last month, minister for employment and workplace relations Bill Shorten introduced a bill to establish the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency.

In a statement marking the bill's introduction, Mr Shorten recognised asbestos as the "worst industrial menace".

"The sad truth is that asbestos-related deaths are not expected to peak until 2020, and that tragically, we are expecting another 30-40,000 people to be diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases in the next 20 years," said Mr Shorten on March 20.

Mr Robson said that unsafe workplaces impact the whole community and hoped that the new National Workers Memorial would inspire improvements in workplace safety across Australia.

"Whether it is the loved ones left behind when a worker is killed, or the workmates left wondering whether they could have done something to save a mate's life, these tragedies are never forgotten."

Those affected by asbestos can explore their entitlement to compensation by talking to expert personal injury lawyers.

There are lawyers in Sydney who have many years of experience in claims involving asbestos dust and who work with a panel of specialists and doctors to help their clients lodge claims for damages.

© 2013 
Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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