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Unions Worried Asbestos Report Will be Concealed

THE Australian Workers Union visited Hobart saying it feared Cement Australia would hide a long-awaited research report into worker asbestos exposure because of legal advice.

AWU national occupational health and safety co-ordinator Yossi Berger, speaking before asbestos talks with the government last week, said he had been told the company’s lawyers opposed releasing the historical study of the plant’s workforce between 1947 and the 1980s.

“(The report’s) been going through an editorial process for a couple of years now,” Dr Berger said.

“The promise from the executives always was it would be made public.”

However, Dr Berger said he had been informed company management was still keen to release the academia-related study report but its “legal team will not allow it”.

“At the moment they have backed off – I have been told it will not be released,” he said.

Asbestos Free Tasmania chief executive Susan Wallace said she understood some of the data might be presented to Cement Australia workers, adding she was puzzled as to why it had not yet been made public.

“I’m about to write them a letter on that very matter,” Ms Wallace said.

The historical worker study was part of a four-step strategy to deal with worker asbestos exposure at the site.

The plan included ridding the plant of asbestos, health screenings for workers, a Monash University study to compare the health of workers with the general Railton community, and the historical study involving Goliath Cement board minutes, interviews with former workers and asbestos removal research.

Dr Berger said the company deserved credit for what it had achieved so far, however it must be transparent.

A Cement Australia spokeswoman based interstate said the company was making no comment about the study or disclosure.

“I’m not in a position to comment on that particular matter,” she said.

 

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Source: http://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/1186111/union-fears-asbestos-report-will-be-hidden/?cs=87

 

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