Asbestosis is a life-threatening disease and that is why any potential exposure to asbestos-containing materials needs to be treated with the most serious concern.
Asbestos-related conditions, which include Mesothelioma, Silicosis, and lung cancer, can often only become apparent years after exposure took place.
That’s because inhaled fibres become lodged in the lungs and it can take between five and ten years for symptoms to appear.
They are likely to worsen over time, impacting on a person’s quality of life and, in extreme cases, can lead to serious illness and death.
Australia was one of the biggest users of asbestos in industry and construction throughout the twentieth century.
There is now a complete ban on its use, but a decades-long legacy continues to prompt extreme caution when it comes to the possibility of workers or the public coming into contact with this dangerous material.
The most recent high profile case is the ongoing saga involving the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) via Telstra communication pits.
Some of these pits have asbestos-containing material (ACM), the handling of which was called into question, leading to the shutdown of sites until training and procedures could be verified from Telstra at the top right down to sub-contractors out at the pits.
In his most recent statement on the matter, minister for workplace relations Bill Shorten announced on Friday (July 26) that ensuring work can resume safely at the telecommunications pits remains “a key priority”.
“Comcare reported to the [Independent Asbestos] Taskforce that they are satisfied that appropriate actions are being taken by Telstra to address work health and safety for asbestos related hazards,” said Mr Shorten.
He also said that recent advertisements aimed at recruiting people to act as independent monitors at Telstra NBN pits had drawn strong responses.
“The monitors will be verifying that work on the NBN roll out that may involve ACMs is being conducted in a way that ensures the safety of employees, contractors, nearby residents and the general public,” explained Mr Shorten.
“The government views the identification and safe removal of asbestos as an absolute priority.”
If you or anyone you know suspects they may have been exposed to asbestos dust or fibres, get in touch with legal professionals experienced at acting on behalf of victims of dust diseases.
Compensation lawyers can provide you with specialised advice about making Asbestosis claims.