Nurses in Canberra are being given specialist training in how to deal with an expected rise in the number of asbestos-related cases in the Australian capital.
According to the Canberra Times, a total of ten nurses have elected to take specialised, intensive training outside of working hours so they can provide more comprehensive care for mesothelioma sufferers and their families.
"It's really sad we need these new nurses, but it is important we are prepared," Dean Hall, the Australian Capital Territory secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), told the publication.
It is thought that the construction boom in the 1960s and 1970s is largely to blame for the spike in mesothelioma cases, as the condition can sometimes take more than 20 years to develop.
The nurses' training was paid for by the Lung Foundation of Australia, which hopes they will become leaders in the ACT and across the country when it comes to care for mesothelioma sufferers.
Hall also noted that many younger workers – who have been given more comprehensive asbestos training – have been responsible for alerting more senior construction staff to the possible presence of asbestos on construction sites.
As a result, he explained that mandatory asbestos licensing training will be extended across the entire construction workforce, rather than just to apprentices.
The frequency of asbestos-related disease in Australia is not likely to peak until 2020, according to Paul Bastian of the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union.
Earlier this year, Bastian – working alongside Lindsay Fraser of the CFMEU and two mesothelioma sufferers – launched the Asbestos Free Future campaign, which aims to ensure that all asbestos is eradicated from the country by 2030.
According to Fraser, asbestos may still be present in up to two-thirds of the homes built between the end of WWII and the early 1980s. This also means that many people who have been exposed to the deadly substance may not yet be showing signs of asbestos-related diseases.
Others may not be aware that their home contains asbestos and may come into contact with it while carrying out home repairs and renovations.
If you believe that you may be entitled to compensation because you have been exposed to asbestos, an experienced lawyer can help. Contact an asbestos exposure lawyer to determine what action may be best for your situation.