Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace launched National Asbestos Awareness Week today in Brisbane.
“An estimated one-in-three homes contain asbestos in Australia, so it’s vital that tradies and DIYers alike understand how to work with the old building material safely,” said Ms. Grace.
“Raising awareness of asbestos safety is aimed squarely at keeping Queenslanders free from the terrible diseases this material can cause.
“Deaths from asbestos-related diseases remain a sad reality, as it can take many years for the symptoms to emerge and in many cases, people aren’t even aware that they’ve been working with asbestos materials.”
It is estimated that more than 25,000 Australians will die from asbestos-related diseases in the next 40 years.
“Although it’s safe if in good condition and left alone, asbestos can be very dangerous once you start drilling into it, or breaking it up,” said Ms. Grace.
“These are just the kind of jobs that electricians, renovators, home handymen or builders might do.”
Asbestos Safety Advocates Julie and Don Sager also joined the occasion. The couple lost their 25-year-old son Adam to mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos during a home renovation.
Ms. Grace also praised Queensland’s Asbestos Ambassador, Trevor Gillmeister for spreading the asbestos safety message.
“Gilly works hard all year-round to get asbestos safety messages to people in communities across the state,” she said.
“For him, raising awareness is a personal commitment – a few years ago he lost his father to an asbestos-related disease, which he contracted through his work as a boilermaker.”
This month, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland met local councils and hardware stores to put on workshops and safety demonstrations across the state for tradies and DIY enthusiasts.
More information about working safely with asbestos is available on www.deir.qld.gov.au/asbestos or by calling 13 QGOV (13 7468).