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Townsville asbestos settlement sparks call to former workers

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Media Release

Published on

Slater and Gordon is urging former employees of Planet Homes, which was operated in Townsville in the 1970s, to lodge their details on the firm’s asbestos register.

The call comes after Slater and Gordon last week settled an asbestos compensation claim on behalf of a former builder and construction worker who worked for Planet Homes in Townsville during the 1970s.

Slater and Gordon asbestos lawyer Carl Hughes said the law firm had pursued the case on behalf of Colin Johnston, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May this year.

Mr Hughes encouraged others who had worked at Planet Homes, either as tradespeople or in the office, to register their details on the law firm’s national asbestos register.

“We would encourage anyone who worked with Planet Homes, which was a big operation at the time, to put their names and details onto our asbestos register.

“It means that if, in the future, they are diagnosed with an asbestos related disease then we can move quickly to identify how and where their exposure may have occurred and to lodge a compensation claim.”

Mr Hughes said Mr Johnston came into contact with a large amount of asbestos material while working as a site foreman for Planet Homes in Townsville, between approximately 1970 and 1972.   He said Mr Johnston worked with asbestos products over more than two decades but the legal enquiries were focussed on his time at Planet Homes.

“In addition to being a site manager, my client used to work on the tools for Planet Homes which meant he came into contact with a lot of asbestos cement building products that were used to build these homes.”

“In the 1970s it was common to use power-saws to cut various forms of asbestos building products and my client recalls enormous amounts of dust in the air while working at Planet Homes.

“During the building of the mostly pre-fabricated homes, it was quite common for the workers to be covered with asbestos dust, on their skin and their clothes, and of course at that time the dangers of these asbestos fibres were unknown to workers.”

Mr Hughes said the firm did not want alarm people who had worked for Planet Homes.

“In Australia, almost everyone has at one stage been exposed to asbestos fibres because of the product has been used in so many buildings, houses and other products.”

“There is no rhyme or reason as to why one person may develop cancer and another does not.”

Mr Hughes said someone did not have to be diagnosed with an asbestos illness to be on the register.

“The register is easily accessible for the purpose of the investigation, preparation and the running of a compensation claim.”

“By registering, people help build up the information and evidence that can be utilised if a compensation claim needs to be made. The information on the register may also assist others who develop an asbestos disease.”    

Anyone who would like to register their information can phone Slater and Gordon’s Townsville office on 4795 1800 or visit the office at 11 Ross River Road, Mundingburra.

Slater and Gordon conducted the first successful common law asbestos litigation case in 1984 and has acted for thousands of people exposed to and diagnosed with an asbestos related disease. The national law firm has recently opened an office in Townsville.