Sydney storms raise risk of asbestos claims

Date: Jan 07, 2016


Severe storms rocked NSW in December, leaving many people with damaged and flooded homes over the already stressful Christmas period. However, even the storm’s eventual passing didn’t spell the end of the danger for people around the state.

While the receding water levels and better weather conditions should have spelled much-needed good news for the storm victims, the resulting debris has in fact raised the risk of asbestos claims.

The nature of the flooded wreckage means it’s difficult – if not impossible – for people without proper protection to sift through the debris safely. As even minor contact with deadly asbestos fibres can have dire consequences, it’s important that people with damaged properties remain vigilant.

Kurnell takes brunt of Sydney storms

While storms created difficulties across much of NSW during December, some areas received worse damage than other. Places like the south Sydney suburb of Kurnell were also exposed to much more than just heavy rain, with ABC News reporting that a tornado also ravaged the area.

Reports confirmed the presence of asbestos in the wake of the tornado, adding further dangers to what was already a risky situation for both homeowners and rescuers.

Thankfully, the substance is easily identifiable. ABC News reported that most of the asbestos identified by rescue workers in Kurnell has been painted blue. Residents or other people that observe collections of blue fibres or housing detritus among the debris should avoid it unless properly protected or they risk developing a dust disease.

How to stay safe in the wake of storm damage

In response to the damage seen in Kurnell and the greater Sydney area, WorkCover released a statement guiding the state’s inhabitants through the process of clearing up the debris.

A key focus on the statement is the presence of asbestos and how to minimise the spread of fibres when cleaning up a property. People looking to remove damaged building materials where asbestos may be present are encouraged to wear a range of protective clothing including:

  • Gloves to ensure fibres can’t contact the skin
  • P2 face masks are a minimum requirement as others may not filter the fibres adequately
  • Long sleeves and trousers to protect skin
  • Strong footwear to protect feet from dangerous building materials

The lawyers at Gerard Malouf and Partners are experienced with asbestos claims and other dust diseases. Contact the team today to find out how they can help.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts or email your enquiry.