Posted on 07 Feb 2012
Dozens of workers who were employed at the former SGIO building (now the Suncorp Metway Plaza building) in Brisbane during the 1980s have come forward and registered their details with Slater and Gordon, after the firm announced they were pursuing a claim on behalf of a man who was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year.
It comes as the 69 year old Everton Hills man, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been awarded more than $600,000 in compensation after it was found he contracted the asbestos-related disease from working at the SGIO building as a CTP insurance investigator from 1988 to 1992.
Slater and Gordon asbestos lawyer Carl Hughes, said it was not the first time that the firm had investigated asbestos exposure arising from the SGIO building, located on the corner of Albert and Turbot streets, and expected many more to come forward.
“After our asbestos warning last year, nearly 50 former workers in the building have come forward and registered their details on our asbestos register,” Mr Hughes said.
“We’re investigating their claims, and have encouraged them to contact a doctor for a general health check up.
“Sadly, this workplace has reared its ugly head again. The first confirmed diagnosis of mesothelioma relating to the SGIO building occurred more than 10 years ago, and this recent case isn’t going to be the last.
“With the diagnosis of asbestos-related cancers usually occurring 20-30 years after exposure, we may not know the extent of exposure for years to come,” he said.
After another former worker, Stewart de Lacy, heard about the asbestos warning, he contacted Slater and Gordon to register his details and provide any assistance to help with the investigation.
“I worked at the SGIO building from November 1985 to early 1988 as a Clerk in the General Administration Department, so I’m a little anxious to find out if I was exposed to any asbestos fibres,” Mr de Lacy said.
“I’m also concerned that former colleagues may not be aware of the dangers they were potentially exposed to.
“I don’t think many people were aware that the renovations took place, or that an office worker sitting at their desk could be exposed to asbestos,” he said.
It is alleged an asbestos based lagging was sprayed on steel framework as a fire retardant within the SGIO building. SGIO then contracted a company to remove asbestos from the building, a process which is thought to have been completed throughout the 1980s. It is thought asbestos fibres were circulated throughout the building via the air conditioning, exposing possibly hundreds of workers, including the Everton Hills man, to dangerous asbestos fibres.
Mr Hughes said that he was still hoping to hear from other people who may have worked in the building, during or after renovations.
“Our Brisbane office has completed successful claims on behalf of former workers and their families at the SGIO building, who went on to develop an asbestos related disease,” he said.
“We believe there is no risk to people currently working in the Suncorp Metway Plaza building.
“While it’s certainly not the case that everyone who has been exposed to asbestos develops an asbestos-related illness, it is important that these employees put their name on the Slater and Gordon asbestos register, or contact a doctor for a general health check up,” he said.
Mr Hughes said people could register their details with Slater and Gordon. Slater and Gordon’s asbestos register builds a database of workplaces where asbestos has been used, and is a comprehensive reference point in the event that workers develop an asbestos-related disease.