Thousands of asbestos-containing materials are still in place in workplaces and homes and employers that disregard the deadly hazard are being targeted, according to warnings issued for national Asbestos Awareness Week this week. Meanwhile, the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency's functions are likely to be expanded under the recommendations of a statutory review tabled in Parliament today.
> Falling work fatality rate encouraging, but "not cause for celebration"; > Regulators issue fatality alerts, PCBU receives 13 prohibition notices; and > Many employers falling short of sun-related WHS duties.
A 42-year-old mesothelioma sufferer, and member of the "third wave" of asbestos victims, has been awarded a record $3 million in exemplary and other damages, with a court warning that widespread appreciation of the hazard does little to protect workers and home owners.
A PCBU accused of failing to take steps to prevent a worker's fingers being amputated, and another that allegedly failed to comply with its own asbestos-removal plan, have been allowed to enter low-spend WHS undertakings in lieu of prosecution.
Manufacturers and suppliers accused of failing to disclose the risks posed by their products are facing a national class action from workers exposed to potentially deadly silica dust. Meanwhile, a mesothelioma victim has been awarded damages to cover his preferred, expensive care arrangements.