Paul Howes, national secretary of the AWU recently published an article regarding asbestos victims. In it he described how asbestos exposure victims try to live their lives the best they can, considering the welfare of their families over their own. But underneath the courage lies a furious sense of betrayal that they were left unprotected and exposed to the fatal substance.
The physical toll the disease has taken is apparent for all to see, but the emotional toll while not visible, is significant.
The danger of asbestos has not dissipated, in fact many experts believe there will be a new batch of unfortunate victims of recent exposure in the coming years.
Breathing in airborne asbestos fibres can be deadly at even the smallest amounts. Unfortunately, many homes throughout Australia that were built prior to 1988, may have have been built with asbestos building material.
Simply doing DIY renovations on a home can result in asbestos exposure and subsequently, lifelong problems.
Approximately 600 people die of asbestos-related diseases (such as Mesothelioma) annually. It is therefore imperative that people remain vigilant and aware, and treating asbestos very cautiously.
The federal government has embarked on an asbestos cleaning mission, and has set up an Office of Asbestos Management. This office would deal with the management and eventual removal of the fatal material. Unions hope that the agency will herald in a plan to remove all asbestos from Australia by 2030.
Workers have consistently been pitted against their employers as a result of asbestos exposure. Average people have been up against large companies for their part in the dumping of asbestos. Fortunately, there has been some level of financial compensation for their suffering, but it cannot begin to suffice when considering the amount of suffering these victims endure.
One would think that this type of thing is rare and workers will no longer be exposed to these dangers again. However the use of asbestos was only banned in Australia in 2003 and as seen in the news, many big corporations have been accused of dodging safety laws and responsibilities to workers.
It is a very unfortunate when someone dies as a result of something that has happened to them at work and every effort should be made by companies to ensure that the proper training and equipment is provided when there is a potential of exposure.
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