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Turner Freeman has acted for hundreds of carpenters who have handled, cut, drilled, rasped and worked with asbestos cement fibro building materials while building, renovating and demolishing houses and other buildings.

Asbestolite fibro sheets, Hardiflex fibro sheets, Villaboard sheets, Deep Six corrugated fibro sheets and countless other types of fibro sheets were used in a large number of houses built in South Australia in the 1950s to the 1980s.

Fibro sheets contained asbestos up until about 1983.

Flat or moulded fibro sheets were often used as the exterior walls of houses, sheds, garages and carports. In most houses flat fibro sheets were used to construct eaves and as linings on the walls and ceilings in wet areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundries. Thick compressed fibro sheets were used on the floor of wet areas and corrugated fibro sheets were used on roofs, garages, sheds and as fences.

Most carpenters were exposed to asbestos when they handled, drilled, cut, rasped and installed fibro sheets causing asbestos dust to be released. Carpenters were also exposed to dust from fibro sheets even when they were not using fibro as they worked around others who were.

James Hardie operated a factory in Largs Bay that made most of the fibro used in South Australia.

A subcontracting carpenter

Mr. C is one of many carpenters we have acted for. He worked as a sub contract carpenter for a number of construction companies in Adelaide during the 1960s and 1970s building new homes, carports, garages and holiday homes using fibro sheets in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

Mr. C contracted mesothelioma and commenced proceedings in the District Court of South Australia against James Hardie, the manufacturer of the fibro he worked with. His claimed settled on a confidential basis prior to trial.

A builder’s labourer’s apprentice and gyprocker

Mr. K worked as a builders’ labourer apprentice in Adelaide in the 1950s. He worked around carpenters who were cutting and installing asbestos fibro sheets on Housing Trust homes in Adelaide. As the labourer he cleaned up the off cuts and swept up the dust from the sheets. He later became a gyprocker. As well as gyprock sheets, he installed flat fibro sheets on the walls of wet areas and thick compressed sheets on the floors.

Years later Mr. K contracted mesothelioma. He commenced proceedings against James Hardie in the District Court of South Australia, which were settled prior to trial for a confidential sum.

Peter Thurbon: a carpenter and builder

Peter Thurbon started working as an apprentice carpenter at age 15. He continued working as a carpenter for a number of building companies and then on his own until he was diagnosed with mesothelioma at age 50. Throughout his working life Peter cut and fitted fibro sheets including flat sheets, Hardiflex, Tilux, Log Cabin, Coverline, Shadowline, Hardiplank and Thick Compressed sheets.

Peter brought proceedings against James Hardie, the manufacturer of the sheets. Peter’s evidence was taken in Darwin, where he was holidaying at the time. His case settled prior to judgment for a confidential sum.

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