James Hardie & Coy Pty Limited had two factories in Perth; one at Rivervale and one at Welshpool. Bells Asbestos had a factory at O’Conner that manufactured and sold asbestos insulation products. Bradford Insulation also had a factory in Perth which manufactured some asbestos insulation products.
Many jackpick and jackhammer operators were heavily exposed to silica dust while excavating through sandstone for foundations. Others working in foundries and mills were also exposed to high levels of silica dust and have developed silicosis and progressive massive fibrosis.
Asbestos exposure is dangerous when inhaled in any setting and asbestos disease sufferers are not limited to persons who have worked with asbestos materials. Exposure to asbestos can occur and result in a disease from living or working near an asbestos mine or factory or washing a loved one’s clothes which is heavily ladden with asbestos fibres.
Many workers in heavy industry were exposed to asbestos dust and fibre on a daily basis. Workers in refineries, power stations (particularity during their construction), shipyards, steelworks and in assembly and maintenance of locomotives were often at risk.
Asbestos was used in an incredible variety of ways and workers in a variety of industries were exposed to sufficient quantities to cause disease. From jewellery makers to vineyard employees; brake mechanics to brewery workers.