Deadly legacy

Mr Vojakovic with Phil Toia, Horrie Duffal, Bill Schilders, Claude Endersby and Kim George.
Mr Vojakovic with Phil Toia, Horrie Duffal, Bill Schilders, Claude Endersby and Kim George.

Society president Robert Vojakovic stressed the importance of public awareness of the deadly mineral at a meeting of former Ceiloyd workers in Osborne Park last Wednesday.

The Ceiloyd workers sprayed asbestos in a liquid form through many of Perth’s largest and most used buildings until the mid-1970s.

‘The remaining few asbestos sprayers feel that it is their obligation to bring attention to the fact that some commercial and other buildings in the Perth area may still have some asbestos present which poses a current risk to maintenance workers, renovators and indeed building tenants of exposure to deadly asbestos fibres,’ Mr Vojakovic said.

Mr Vojakovic said without the workers’ accounts of the private developments sprayed with asbestos, no one would know which buildings were exposed.

He said although many of the government buildings that were sprayed and lagged with asbestos had either been remediated or demolished, many of the commercial buildings had not due to lack of transparency and records.

‘It was a building by-law to lag buildings with asbestos for fireproofing, however any register may not cover all buildings that were sprayed with asbestos lagging and the information that can be provided by the Ceiloyd workers about the individual buildings and factories they applied asbestos lagging to is invaluable and in the public interest,’ he said.

Mr Vojakovic said the company Ceiloyd ceased operating in 1975 and as a result much of the information was lost, making the survivor’s information critical to future safety.

Phil Toia, who worked for Ceiloyd, said more needed to be done to ensure future generations were not affected by asbestos.

‘Until the government takes out all the asbestos fences and roofs in our communities, our children will continue to be exposed to asbestos,’ he said.

Mr Vojakovic said more funding needed to be directed towards medical research because asbestos exposure would continue to be a real risk for many years.

‘Until we have adequate funding for medical research for a cure for asbestos-related diseases, workers like these brave men will continue to die simply because they went to work,’ he said.

‘We need to do everything possible to prevent a new generation of workers from joining this shameful asbestos-related death toll.’

Mr Vojakovic said the death toll among asbestos sprayers and laggers was staggering, with most succumbing to mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.