An expert in the New South Wales construction industry has called for better education for home renovators and construction apprentices about the risks of asbestos containing materials.
Speaking to DesignBuild Source, infrastructure services manager of NSW Master Builders Michelle Bass said that it was important that young apprentices learnt about asbestos awareness from an early stage of their training.
“We need to bring that back at the Certificate 1 level with our apprentices that work in the industry as well,” Ms Bass told DesignBuild Source in an article published May 9.
In addition to her role with Master Builders, Ms Bass is executive secretary of the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association NSW and executive officer of the Demolition & Contractors Association (NSW).
With many renovations undertaken by home owners themselves, she said that it was just as important that DIY-ers know about the risks of Asbestosis and the other dust related diseases that asbestos can cause.
“We really need to increase awareness so they [home owners] are aware that as soon as they pull out that kitchen there is a chance the back wall is in fact an asbestos containing material,” said Ms Bass.
She said that caution was paramount when dealing with materials suspected of containing asbestos.
“Get a hygienist in to make that determination – they will test the product and let you know if it is asbestos containing material, what type of asbestos it is and whether or not it’s friable or non-friable,” Ms Bass said.
Asbestos that is friable can be easily crumbled in the fingers when dry.
Exposure to asbestos dust or fibres can lead to one of several serious conditions, including Mesothelioma, Asbestosis and lung cancer.
Asbestos was used widely in construction materials until the late 1980s in Australia, leaving the country with a dangerous legacy until this day.
Exposure to the asbestos can happen in many different circumstances, such as at certain workplaces, in trades where asbestos comes into play, and during building renovations.
Anyone that develops an asbestos dust-related disease is entitled to make a claim for compensation.
As speed is of the essence when a life threatening disease is involved, they can be trusted to act with urgency to facilitate compensation claims.