Monday 25 November kicks off National Asbestos Awareness Week, and SafeWork SA is calling on South Australians not to be complacent about the dangers of harmful asbestos fibres.
With the theme of “Asbestos lurks in more places than you’d think”, we’re joining hundreds of government and non-government organisations, in encouraging Australians to be aware of where asbestos might be found.
It is estimated that 4,000 Australians are dying from asbestos-related diseases every year. At the height of its use, asbestos was in over 3,000 products and many of these products are still contained in our homes and workplaces.
Inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause a range of deadly diseases including mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer. There is no cure and prognosis is extremely poor. Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma die from it. For some time now, Do-It-Yourself (DIY) home renovators have been a group at risk of exposure.
While the work health and safety arrangements in place across Australia have resulted in strong protections for workers against the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres, it is important we remain vigilant to its presence and associated dangers.
This is especially true for those in construction, maintenance and manufacturing, plumbers, electricians and the vehicle trades.
Work health and safety laws need to be strictly followed.
To prevent exposure to asbestos fibres, it is crucial that workers do not work with asbestos, except as allowed under the laws. Importantly, anyone handling asbestos in the workplace must be properly trained.
It is also a timely reminder to make sure that workplace asbestos registers and management plans are up-to-date.
Asbestos Awareness Week is a chance for all Australians to become aware of where in the home or workplace asbestos could be, and to make sure they know what to do to avoid becoming exposed.