While asbestos was completely banned from Australia in 2003, decades of use in a number of common products – particularly in construction and automotive materials – means it still remains a very real risk for people throughout NSW. Because long-term exposure to asbestos fibres can results in mesothelioma and other dust diseases, it's important to report any contact with the material and find out if you could be eligible for compensation.
A recent report from SafeWork NSW – produced with data from Hipages – discovered that more and more people are finding asbestos in their homes while doing renovations. It's a revelation that should prompt people to be more vigilant about asbestos and its potential presence, especially in older dwellings.
More people are seeking asbestos removal services
While the presence of asbestos in older NSW homes isn't a recent discovery, the growing rates at which people are finding it are raising red flags for industry organisations such as SafeWork NSW. Last year, the organisation recorded just over 25,000 reports of asbestos removal work, a massive jump compared to the almost 13,000 reports filed in 2012.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Master Builders Association NSW Executive Director Brian Seidler said he believes this number will only increase in the coming years as people continue to renovate old homes.
"I think with the continued love of renovation and the fact that the greater majority of homes now are over 30 years and will therefore need renovation or refurbishment, we will discover more asbestos, that is clear," he explained.
The data SafeWork obtained from tradesperson hire website Hipages reinforces that view. The service said it received a 32 per cent increase in requests for tradies who could perform licensed asbestos removal in the NSW area throughout 2016.
The biggest jump in requests was for Western Sydney, which was up by 64 per cent on the previous year. Sydney's eastern suburbs are home to a similar trend, with Hipages fielding 50 per cent more asbestos-related requests in 2016 than it did in 2015.
Operations Manager at Access Quality Services Cindy Rahal said the firm was struggling to keep up with demand, and offered some insights into the current market.
"We are finding it is a lot of young couples moving into their first home in areas where there are asbestos homes … there is certainly an awareness of asbestos that people didn't have before," she said.
To find out more about our services with regards to asbestos and dust disease cases, get in touch with the lawyers at Gerard Malouf and Partners for a free consultation.