Let’s lead the way, Queensland, and continue to remain asbestos vigilant – that’s the message being delivered by Deputy Director-General, Peter McKay, as part of National Asbestos Awareness Week (November 20-26).
- Asbestos Awareness Week (20-26 November), is held nationally to increase awareness of the risks of working with asbestos.
- Homes and business properties built before 1990 are very likely to contain asbestos.
- Attend free webinars for tradies and for home renovators to learn how to live and work safely with asbestos.
Held every November, Asbestos Awareness Week aims to increase awareness of the risks associated with working with asbestos-containing materials and drive behavioural and attitudinal change about the importance of work health and safety measures regarding these materials, including Queenslanders doing home renovations.
Homes and businesses built or renovated before 1990 are particularly highlighted, as they are likely to harbor products containing asbestos. With over 3,000 such products used in the construction of older properties, the week-long event serves as a crucial reminder for individuals to exercise caution before embarking on any renovation or cleaning activities.
Asbestos products in good condition are not a risk to your health, but if they have been disturbed, broken, sanded, blasted with high-pressure water, or cut, they can become harmful. This is when asbestos fibres are released into the air and can be breathed in, putting your and others' health at risk.
Remember, the invisible nature of asbestos fibres makes them impossible to detect with the naked eye, but they are still dangerous.
Queensland Safety Advocates Julie and Don Sager know how real the danger is after losing their son Adam to mesothelioma, an asbestos-related disease, when he was just 25. Adam was unknowingly exposed to asbestos dust when he was 18 months old.
At 24, a fit and seemingly healthy Adam was training for the martial arts world championships when he first developed symptoms of the asbestos disease, mesothelioma. He died just 10 months later at 25 years old.
Julie and Don now visit Queensland businesses as part of the safety advocate campaign, in a bid to educate people about the risk of exposure to asbestos.
Quotes attributable to Office of Industrial Relations, Deputy Director-General, Peter McKay:
“No one should endure what the Sagers experienced, and their story underscores the importance of thinking twice before starting work in buildings which contain asbestos.
“Asbestos Awareness Week is an important week in our state calendar, serving as a crucial reminder to householders and tradespeople on where they could find asbestos in homes and what they should do to stay safe.
“The message remains clear - if there's any uncertainty about working safely with asbestos, get advice from a licensed professional – it’s just not worth the risk.
As part of Asbestos Awareness Week, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is hosting free livestreamed safety sessions during the week so Queenslanders can learn how to work and live safely around asbestos.
More information is available at www.asbestos.qld.gov.au.
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