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Asbestos Case studies

Over the last 25 years Turner Freeman has acted for persons exposed to asbestos at work including asbestos manufacturing workers, laggers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, shipbuilders, roofers, fitters, boilermakers, riggers, railway workers, waterside workers, navy personnel, pipe layers, mechanics and power station workers as well as those exposed to asbestos as a result of home renovations and washing clothes.

Turner Freeman has acted for people in all states in Australia, whose exposure to asbestos occurred in a wide variety of different ways. Many of our clients have been told that they have an asbestos disease but are unable to recall where they may have been exposed to asbestos – our lawyers are expert at taking personal and industrial histories and identifying possible asbestos exposure. Follow the links below for examples of real life case studies relating to a wide variety of different exposures.

Asbestos Case Studies for Tradesman & Labourers


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. Fibrolite, Hardiflex, Versilux, Six corrugated sheeting, Tilux and countless other types of fibro sheets were used in a large amount of homes built in Western Australia.

Boilermakers and Fitters

Up until the 1980′s boilermakers and fitters working in power stations, on board ships, in refineries, manufacturing plants and heavy industry were heavily exposed to asbestos. Boilermakers and fitters handled, removed, worked with and worked nearby to others working with asbestos insulation.


Most plumbers who worked during the 1940′s,1950′s, 1960′s and 1970′s were extensively exposed to asbestos dust and fibre while working on domestic and 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.


Asbestos corrugated sheeting manufactured by James Hardie including Super Six and standard corrugated sheets were used as roofing on many homes and factories in Western Australia. Corrugated sheets could not be cut with fibro cutters and needed a hand saw or power saw to be cut.


Many electricians were exposed to asbestos while working on industrial and commercial sites and on the construction and renovation of houses. Electrical switchboards were typically lined with an asbestos sheet, which had to be cut and drilled. Some electrical wiring was coated with asbestos.

Asbestos Case Studies for Asbestos Industry Workers

Asbestos industry workers are the most heavily exposed workers to asbestos. As a result, Turner Freeman have acted for hundreds of asbestos industry workers who have contracted all manner of asbestos diseases.

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. These factories employed hundreds of workers who were exposed to asbestos.

James Hardie employees

Case studies relating to carpenters, plumbers, electricians, roofers, boilermakers, fitters and others.

Asbestos Sprayers

Spraying was often used as a method of application for asbestos when insulating steel beams and structures and bulkheads on ships. A machine was commonly used to mix asbestos with water.

Insulation Workers

Mr. C Mr. C emigrated to Australia from Malta in 1956. In 1964 he found work at the Bradford Insulation factory Mr. C worked at the factory for 10 months. One of his jobs was to pack a blue asbestos mixture into bags.

Asbestos Pipe Layers

Thousands of metres of asbestos cement pipes used by the Post Masters’ General Department (PMG, later Telstra), were laid underground throughout Western Australia. Labourers installed and repaired the asbestos cement pipes, cutting them with saws, chain cutters and grinders. Mr. M Mr. M was born in Greece. He emigrated to Australia in 1955.

Case Studies for Silicosis and Other Dust Conditions

Jackpick Workers and Excavators

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.

Jackpick and jackhammer operators drilled through sandstone rock, working 8 to 12 hour days in trenches up to 12 metres deep along side other jackpick and jackhammer operators. The rocks were taken away by shovel or by bulldozer. Vast amounts of dust were produced and workers were rarely provided with masks or other protection from the dust.

As well as digging foundations, jackpick and jackhammer operators dug trenches for water, sewerage and gas pipes and telephone and electrical cables. Again, workers were exposed to vast quantities of dust while working in trenches a few metres deep.

Many jackpick and jackhammer operators, as well as labourers who did shovelling work, have contracted silicosis and progressive massive fibrosis. Many were forced to leave the industry at a young age due to physical incapacity or to avoid further exposure to dust.

George Xenos

George Xenos came to live in Australia from Greece as a young man in 1964. Like many other Greek immigrants he found work in the excavation industry working as a jackpick and jackhammer operator drilling through sandstone rock to dig foundations. The dust was everywhere and he was not provided with a mask or any safety instructions.

“…dust rose in the air and covered my body. It settled on my hair, on my face, on my clothes, in my pockets…the only way I could get the dust off my hair and body was to wash with Omo washing powder. I would grab it by the handful and rub it in. My hair was so stiff I had to use Brylcream to keep it down,”he told the Court.

By the mid 1970s George had to stop work. He had contracted silicosis and progressive massive fibrosis and experienced difficulty breathing. His wife had to support the family by doing piecework at home for the clothing industry. In 1986 he left Australia and returned to Greece where it was cheaper to live.

Despite George living in Greece, Turner Freeman successfully brought a claim in Australia against his former employers and recovered substantial compensation for him.

Mr. S

Mr. S started working for an industrial milling company in 1964. One of his jobs was to break up rock and ore into a smaller size using a sledgehammer so that they would fit into the jaws of the crusher. He then fed the rock and ore into the crusher where it was crushed. From the crusher the ore and rock went into a hopper. He then removed the material from the hopper using a wheelbarrow and carted the material to a small hopper, from where it was fed into a small mill that crushed the rock and ore into fine powder. He then bagged the powder.

Mr. S was diagnosed with silicosis and progressive massive fibrosis in 1999. He was advised by his specialist to avoid any further exposure to dust. His employer, on being told of his doctor’s recommendation, advised that there was no available work in a dust free environment and he was subsequently retrenched.

Turner Freeman acted for Mr. S in a claim against his employer and he recovered compensation for his physical injury and loss of earning capacity.

Asbestos Case Studies for household & Bystander Exposure

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 laden with asbestos fibres.

Clothes washing

Turner Freeman has acted for numerous women who have contracted an asbestos disease as a result of washing and handling their son’s, brother’s, father’s or husband’s asbestos laden clothes. These women often describe shaking the clothes or beating them with a stick to get rid of dust and dirt.

Living near an asbestos mine

Turner Freeman has run a number of claims for people exposed to asbestos as a result of living or working near an asbestos mine or asbestos factory. Vivian Olson Vivian Olson was born at Wittenoom hospital in September 1957. Her family left Wittenoom for Sydney a little over two years later.

Home Renovation

Turner Freeman has acted for numerous men and women who were exposed to asbestos while carrying out or assisting with home renovations and who later contracted mesothelioma. Most home renovators have only very limited exposure to asbestos dust and fibre.


Children love to play with scraps of building materials, help their parents as they work around the house and hug their parents as they get home from work. Some children were exposed to asbestos during such ordinary activities and years later developed asbestos disease.

Bystander to asbestos spray

During the 1950′s, 1960′s and 1970′s asbestos spray fibre was commonly used for fire proofing and sound proofing. Asbestos fibre was sprayed onto the structural steel and concrete slabs so as to prevent fire from doing structural damage to buildings. 

Asbestos Case Studies for Heavy Industry Workers

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.

Power Station Workers

Station workers Asbestos insulation was extensively used in power stations across Western Australia including at the Kwinana Power Station, Muja Power Station, South Fremantle Power Station and Collie Power Station to name a few.

Shipyards and steelworks

The Whyalla Shipyards were among the largest shipyards in Australia, operating from 1941 to 1978. Over that time about 20,000 people worked there. Many of them were exposed to large quantities of asbestos dust and fibre. Many more were employed and exposed to asbestos while working at the Steelworks.

Other Asbestos Case Studies

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.

Brake Mechanics

Asbestos was used in brake and clutch linings for cars, trucks and locomotives manufactured and sold in Australia until 2003. Mechanics who handled, cut, riveted, ground, chamfered and bevelled brake linings were exposed to asbestos and later developed asbestos diseases.

Brewery & Vineyard Workers

Asbestos products were widely used in industry up until the 1970′s, including in beer and wine making. Asbestos was used during the filtration process. Asbestos insulation was also used as lagging on steam and hot water pipes and boilers throughout vineyards and breweries.

Jewellery Makers

Turner Freeman has acted for a number of persons exposed to asbestos during the process of making jewellery, either as a hobby or as a profession. Below are some examples of cases we have successfully prosecuted.


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