Asbestos products were substantially used within many industries in Australia including in the construction of homes and buildings prior to 1990, the reliable mineral was considered to be a very strong, flexible and affordable option with the ability to insulate heat and electricity.
Asbestos was mined in Australia from 1930 and more than 1.5 million tonnes of asbestos was imported up until 1983, with Australia having one of the highest rates of asbestos use per person in the world.
Inhalation of asbestos fibres have the potential to cause life-threatening illnesses and on the 31st December 2003 Australia joined 61 other nations in banning the use of asbestos. 1
Know the dangers of Asbestos
Due to the extensive use of asbestos in constructions prior to 1990 it is estimated that one-third of all homes in Australia contain asbestos which was used for roofing and also in the interior and exterior construction of buildings.
Generally asbestos is only harmful if it is disturbed whereby it gives off dust and fibres which if inhaled can result in devastating health effects such as; mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
It may take decades from the time of exposure for the effects of asbestos-related disease to appear with symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, chest/back pains, and build-up of fluid on the lung. 2
Workers in the construction, automotive, boiler making, demolition and power station industries may have had extensive exposure to asbestos dust and are most at risk of developing an asbestos related illness.3
Safety Check - Top 5 Safety Tips
If you are planning on disturbing materials in your home or any building for that matter with activity such as sanding, cutting or drilling into materials that might contain asbestos, it is vital to understand the risks and take the necessary precautions for handling asbestos without risking your or your family’s health. 4
*Roger Singh at Shine lawyers is an expert in dust diseases, and here are his top five pieces of advice for those who might be faced with an asbestos related disease: *
- Seek medical assistance and support as a matter of priority
- Prompt legal assistance is advised so that urgent steps can be taken to safeguard compensation entitlements including those that might be available under Workers compensation schemes where time limits may apply
- Even if the exposure to asbestos occurred many decades ago it is still possible for a compensation claim to be brought despite the passage of time
- If you were employed at the time of the asbestos exposure and the employer company/business no longer exists in certain circumstances it is still possible for a claim to be investigated and pursued
- If you have any historic documents in your possession which attest to past employment, during which you might have been exposed to asbestos, then make sure to retain such paperwork as it could assist to prove your claim.
Asbestos Awareness aims to raise knowledge and understanding about the dangers of asbestos and how to best manage risks within everyday environments where asbestos may still exist, including within the home.
Raising awareness is vital as Australia was one of the highest users of asbestos materials before 1990.The ongoing cases of asbestos-related disease in Australia should act as a warning to deter people from disturbing asbestos materials particularly where they may feature in existing homes.
Shine Lawyers are experts in dust disease related compensation, if you or a loved one is suffering from a dust-related disease, please contact our team today to find out if you have a claim and what can be done to bring a claim for you.
Written by Shine Lawyers on November 13, 2018. Last modified: November 13, 2018.