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Workplace exposure – 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. In 1966 he began working for SAGASCO as a labourer, digging and laying gas pipes. Many of the pipes were made from asbestos cement. Along the distance of the pipes manholes and inspection hatches were made and installed. Large asbestos cement pipes were used to line the inspection hatches.

The asbestos pipes were cut to size with a motorised disc. This was very dusty work and dust went everywhere when these pipes were cut. The dust adhered to Mr. M’s face and clothes.

Mr. M later developed severe asbestosis and Turner Freeman acted for him in a successful claim against his former employer.

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