Asbestos awareness: Businesses have no excuse

asbestos contaminated power station

A recent court case in South Australia sends a strong message to employers: there's no excuse for failing to take action about asbestos-related risks to your employees.

85-year old Allan Geyer was diagnosed with mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos over a 31-year career at a South Australian power station. Now, the Electricity Trust of South Australia has been forced to pay Mr Geyer more than $320,000 in damages.

$20,000 of this settlement is "exemplary damages", meaning the court believed that ETSA knew of the risks its employees were facing from exposure to asbestos, but failed to inform them or to adequately protect them.

This is a drop in the ocean compared to the total costs organisations like ETSA might end up facing if other former employees bring legal action against them. With mesothelioma rates expected to keep rising for the next decade, that's a very real possibility.

What to do first: get an asbestos assessment

Employers have both a legal and a moral responsibility to make sure their employees are aware of and protected from asbestos risks. If your premises were built before 2004, the first step is to arrange an asbestos assessment from an experienced asbestos consultancy company like Airsafe. If we find asbestos on your premises, we'll help you develop an asbestos register and management plan.

Don't be an employer that the courts make an example of: do the right thing, and get your premises checked for asbestos.


Back to news

Related articles
drawing of woman surrounded by products containing asbestos

6 household items that could contain asbestos

1st December 2015

Despite its prominence in Australian news, very few people realise just how common the use of asbestos once was.

full article

sign of danger asbestos

The truth about occupational asbestos exposure

1st October 2015

If you manage or control a workplace, you need to be aware of regulations about asbestos exposure.

full article

photograph of mr fluffy insulation advertisement

NSW launches Mr Fluffy home buyback scheme

20th July 2015

The NSW State Government has announced that it will set aside as much as $250 million for a voluntary home buyback scheme to help families caught up in the Mr Fluffy asbestos crisis.

full article

Asbestos found in Australian schools

6th July 2015

There are rising concerns about the presence of potentially toxic asbestos in many Australian schools.

full article

photograph of Gove refinery where Zorko Zabic worked

CFMEU urges Rio Tinto to drop High Court asbestos appeal

10th June 2015

At its height, the asbestos industry reached into virtually every corner of Australia. The latest asbestos story began at an industrial site on the Gove peninsula, in the far north of the Northern Territory.

full article