Former Hazelwood staff urged to register asbestos exposure
Posted on 01 Mar. 2018
Slater and Gordon is urging former employees of the closed Hazelwood Power Station to register any asbestos exposure on its National Asbestos Register.
Thousands of people have worked at the La Trobe Valley plant since it was first opened in the 1960s until its closure in 2017.
Senior Slater and Gordon Asbestos lawyer Stephen Plunkett has represented more than 1,000 Hazelwood employees who have been exposed to asbestos across the region during the past three decades.
Mr Plunkett said the station had been riddled with asbestos and while certain precautions were implemented during the 1980s, workers were still being exposed up until its closure.
“We have seen and advocated for numerous workers from Hazelwood who have been exposed to asbestos at the power station,” Mr Plunkett said.
“And unfortunately, I have absolutely no doubt that there are other workers who will go on to develop asbestos-related illnesses.”
He said Slater and Gordon established a National Asbestos Register in order to protect people exposed to asbestos and consequently in danger of developing diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural plaque and lung cancer.
The register allows people to document their exposure and the exposure of fellow workers should it become necessary to refer to in the future.
“It can actually take up to four decades for these devastating symptoms and their resultant diseases to show,” Mr Plunkett said.
“So the register aims to help people document their exposure to asbestos while it is still clear in their minds.
“By registering they can protect their legal rights if they go on to unfortunately develop an asbestos-related disease.”
Asbestos becomes a potential risk to health if the fibres are suspended in the air and breathed into the lungs.
The fibres can remain deep within the lungs and can lodge in lung tissue, causing inflammation, scarring, leading to serious asbestos-related diseases, which usually take many years, if not decades, to show physical signs.
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