A long serving Australian primary school teacher tragically developed mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos in a regional Victorian primary school.
Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by asbestos exposure, occurring more frequently in Australia than anywhere else in the world. It can take many years to develop and most commonly develops in the membrane that covers the chest wall and lungs. It has a poor prognosis with less than 5% of sufferers living for more than 5 years after diagnosis.
The primary school teacher was exposed to asbestos when renovations were done to a Victorian primary school in 1991. These works released asbestos fibres into the atmosphere as did additional works involving cutting an access doorway into an adjoining portable building which was lined with fibro cement sheeting.
The case is a reminder that even minimal asbestos exposure can be potentially extremely harmful. Teachers and others should be aware of the potential for older buildings to contain asbestos and ensure that any renovations are conducted appropriately. Any exposure to asbestos should be immediately reported and a full medical assessment including chest x-rays, should be undertaken.
2018For more information or advice about legal entitlements for an asbestos related injury, call (03) 9321 9988.