While asbestos and its related products were banned from sale and use in Australia in 2003, there is still risk present, especially as it was used in construction for decades around the country. For people working on or living in contaminated buildings, long-term exposure can lead to dust diseases like mesothelioma.
To reduce this risk, it's essential that these substances are disposed of according to strict laws governed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in NSW. However, as the organisation reported, a company tasked with transportation of asbestos for disposal recently made errors which compromised these dangerous loads.
Trucks leave treatment plant sealed incorrectly
According to a report from the EPA, a number of trucks were seen leaving the South Grafton Sewage Treatment Plant in a manner that didn't align with correct transportation procedures for asbestos. Essentially, the trucks weren't fully sealed. As it's the fibres from the material that cause harm to people who inhale them, it's important that any cargo areas that may be holding asbestos are shut tight.
Regional Director North Adam Gilligan noted that, until now, the company managing the site had been following proper precautions. However, he said that the nature of the offence was the reason the EPA had responded quickly.
"The improper transport of waste potentially containing asbestos is a serious issue that warranted swift action to prevent a recurrence," he explained. "While the incident could have been serious, the EPA is satisfied that, on this occasion, the risk to the community was low."
"Although the trucks were not sealed correctly, precautions had been taken such as wetting the soil to prevent dust."
Gilligan was satisfied that, in this case, the overall danger to the community was low. What the incident does reinforce is the seriousness with which authorities approach asbestos incidents. Despite being outlawed in 2003, it's not uncommon to encounter asbestos, whether it's through completing DIY work on a home or through the negligence of companies tasked with handling the waste.
How can Gerard Malouf and Partners help?
There are a number of different dust diseases you can claim for, not all of which are born from an exposure to asbestos. If you are suffering from a dust disease you can contact a member of the Gerard Malouf and Partners team. We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations for free and our no win no fee policy means you don't have to worry about financial issues at what is already a difficult time.
To find out more, get in touch with our team today.