Western Australian Building Improperly Deals with Asbestos on Roof, Potentially Worsens Problem

A building in Western Australia attempting to rectify an asbestos issue on their roof may have temporarily worsened the problem in their initial steps to fix it.

After a building in the town of Donnybrook was found to have asbestos products on its roof that could pose a potentially health hazard to those in and around it, a decision was quickly made to seal the asbestos products in with the installation of a steel suspension roof on top of it.

According to Donnybrook-Balingup Shire’s Development and Environmental Services Manager Leigh Guthridge, some protocols to remove any dangerous fibers from the area were pushed aside in the interests of getting the project done quickly.

“Typically owners remove the asbestos first, then they would, depending on how big a job it is, remove it and put the new roof on,” he said, according to the Donnybrook-Bridgetown Mail. “That would take time and impact on the tenants.”

Instead, Guthridge said that the contractor carrying out the project had been “briefed by WorkSafe personnel and is undertaking the works in accordance with procedures as directed by work safe to minimize the potential for asbestos fibers being released from the roof during the works” through a number of techniques, including ‘slow drilling’ and the application of liquid to spots that were drilled.

However, following the installation, vents in the new steel roof began releasing swirls of dust from the old roof below it that had not been cleaned up, and was therefore being picked up by the wind and blown into the air. Upon realizing the dust in the air – which nearby companies and residences reported inside their shops and being circulated by their air conditioning systems – builders were brought in to close the vents.

“The ceiling is sealed as far as it practically can be,” Guthridge said, before adding that there was no way to definitively tell if any asbestos products were present in the dust being blown around.

Mesothelioma and asbestosis are both deadly illnesses that are caused primarily by prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers. If you were exposed to asbestos through someone else’s negligent care or disposal of the dangerous fibers and have since developed one of these illnesses, it may be worth pursuing a mesothelioma lawsuit that could potentially result in a substantial asbestos settlement. If you think that a mesothelioma attorney could help prove your illness was caused by a specific entity’s negligence, please contact Sokolove Law for a free legal consultation.