It was once regarded as the 'magic mineral' but the deadly legacy of asbestos continues to mount. Australia now has the highest rates of the fatal asbestos cancer mesothelioma in the world.
Despite well-documented knowledge about its dangers, asbestos use wasn't banned in Australia until the end of 2003. By then, the human toll from asbestos-related diseases had grown rapidly. Asbestos exposure can lead to asbestosis, lung cancer and the deadly cancer mesothelioma. Medical researchers predict the total number of mesothelioma cases will reach 18,000 by 2020. By then, 50 000 Australians will have either died or contracted asbestos-related diseases as a result of their asbestos exposure at home or at work.
Asbestos is set to be come one of the most litigated areas in Australian Industrial courts.
On the 28th of April 2008, ACTU president Sharon Barlow released a press statement in which she stated
"The Federal Government needs to launch an inquiry into asbestos looking at elimination from workplaces and homes along with compensation, treatment and cure for those affected."
"There needs to be an urgent improvement in asbestos regulation and tougher enforcement of laws surrounding asbestos."
Don't make the mistake of not having your Asbestos Management Policy and Audit is in place.