Flooding poses considerable threats to building structures, and recent events in New South Wales may have put property owners at risk of asbestosis claims.
WorkCover NSW warns that buildings constructed before 1987 may contain asbestos, which can be especially hazardous if not dealt with properly. Asbestos is prominent in many older buildings, as it can be found in walls, ceilings, pipes and eaves.
Both flat and corrugated sheets were used for a range of applications throughout properties, and in the aftermath of a flood, the risk of exposure is increased. That is because homes need to be cleaned up and asbestos materials removed from the affected sites.
How to assess the presence of asbestos
The most effective way of confirming the presence of asbestos is to enlist the services of a licensed assessor. WorkCover NSW also recommends using an occupational hygienist if you are concerned that asbestos might be present in your home.
If you plan to remove friable asbestos from your property, or a minimum of 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos materials, you must contact a licensed asbestos removalist.
In disaster situations, the emergency services might perform this task for you, but it's always best to employ your own assessor in case you are concerned.
What not to do with asbestos
WorkCover NSW offers a number of tips on how to remove asbestos safely and minimise the risk of being affected by the material. This includes:
• Avoid breaking the materials – it is best to leave them intact to avoid the fibres straying
• Never clean asbestos materials or roofs with a high-pressure cleaner
• Do not use any power tools or abrasives on these surfaces
• Make sure you turn off the electricity supply before carrying out any work after a flood
• Avoid walking on asbestos roofs, as they might collapse under your weight
• Always use soapy water with a soft cloth to clean asbestos materials
• Regularly check the surface to make sure no damage has occurred during cleaning
• Any broken pieces of asbestos need to be double wrapped in thick plastic and stored in a sealed bag
• Label any asbestos rubbish with a cautionary notice
In the event that you do need to make an asbestosis claim, get in touch with our team of lawyers. We operate on a no win, no fee basis, so you can rest assured that we will work tirelessly to get the compensation you deserve.