Which situations raise the risk of asbestos claims occurring?

PUBLISHED 17 Feb 2016

By now, most Australians will be aware of the dangers associated with asbestos fibres and many of its common applications.

Old houses and other structures are a frequent hiding spot for the substance due to its previous use as building material, and although this is much-publicised information, it's not the only place where Australians can come across asbestos.

Recent storms and flooding in NSW reinforced how important it is to remain vigilant with regards to asbestos, as the risk of mesothelioma is extremely high for people who come into contact with it.

How do storms create asbestos risks?

WorkCover NSW detailed the many dangers facing Australians in the wake of storms and similarly destructive events. The organisation says this information is particularly useful for those who live or work in buildings constructed before 1987.

The reason storms have sparked this warning is because their destructive ability can unearth asbestos deposits that building owners were previously unaware of. WorkCover pointed out that the substance is found in applications as diverse roofing, pipes and even under vinyl flooring.

If any of these features are exposed as the result of storm or flooding damage it can drastically increase the risk of being exposed to deadly asbestos fibres.

What can you do if your property is damaged?

If people spot any signs that a home or building has been damaged after a natural disaster or during renovations, it's important to take preventative action.

WorkCover NSW advocates the use gloves, sturdy footwear and breathing apparatuses to ensure there's limited risk of asbestos fibres coming into contact with skin or facial features.

It's also important to be careful during the cleanup process, as certain tools and recovery procedures can increase danger, rather than remove it. The organisation especially warns against the use of power tools such as drills and belt sanders anywhere near the material, as it aggravates the fibres it makes it easier to inhale them.

How to prepare

WorkCover NSW offered some guidance for people looking to address any damage to their properties to limit asbestos claims and other similar events. The organisation advises people to turn off all electricity before undertaking work of any nature, especially after storms and flooding.

To find out more about what to do to make an asbestos claim, contact the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners.

Extract: Asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance that poses significant health risks to Australians. How can storms create further risk?

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