Most plumbers who worked during the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s were extensively exposed to asbestos dust and fibre while working on domestic, industrial and commercial sites.
Domestic plumbers came into contact with asbestos cement fibro building products while installing gutters, flu pipes and working on roofs, in bathrooms and in laundries.
Plumbers also came into contact with asbestos insulation materials used on hot water and steam pipes while working on domestic hot water systems and on industrial and commercial sites including factories, power stations and on board ships.
Plumbers also used asbestos blankets and wore asbestos gloves while carrying out welding work.
Plumbers were also often exposed to asbestos while working on site along side carpenters, laggers, boilermakers and others using asbestos materials.
Mr Harriot emigrated from England to Australia in 1954, settling in Mount Gambier. He was a qualified plumber and worked initially at the Mt Gambier Hospital and then for a number of plumbers doing residential and commercial work.
Mr Harriot came into contact with asbestos lagged hot water and steam pipes. He installed and removed the insulation, both pre-formed asbestos pipe sections and loose asbestos powder, which he mixed with water to make a slurry. He also cut through Deep Six corrugated fibro sheets, gutters and ridge capping when installing vent pipes or flashing pipes and cut holes in asbestos fibro flat sheets when installing vent and flu pipes.
Forty years later Mr Harriot was diagnosed with mesothelioma. He instructed Turner Freeman who brought proceedings on his behalf against the manufacturers of the asbestos cement and insulation products. Mr Harriot’s matter ran to judgment and he was awarded damages in the sum of $326,395.96 plus costs.
An industrial and commercial plumber
Mr. R worked as a plumber on industrial and commercial sites from the time he was an apprentice. Over the years he worked extensively with asbestos cement fibro sheets (flat sheets, corrugated sheets and compressed sheets) which he cut through to install pipes.
While installing box gutters he worked alongside roofers installing Deep Six sheets. He also worked with asbestos insulation products (asbestos rope, asbestos blankets, asbestos powder, pre-formed pipe sections and asbestos gloves). He used asbestos gloves and blankets as heat protection while welding. He used the asbestos rope, powder and pre-formed pipe sections to insulate hot water pipes chased to the wall.
At the age of 57 Mr. R was diagnosed with mesothelioma. He instructed Turner Freeman who brought proceedings on his behalf against the manufacturers of the asbestos cement and insulation products. Mr. R’s condition deteriorated rapidly and his evidence was recorded on Boxing Day. He died a few days later. His claim was continued by his widow and settled out of court for a confidential sum.