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Case study – carpenters

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 in the 1950′s to the 1980′s.

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 factories at Rivervale and Welshpool that made most of the fibro used in Western Australia.

A labourer in the building industry

Mr. W is one of many labourers we have acted for who worked in the building industry. He worked as a labourer for a number of construction companies in Perth during the 1960′s and 1970′s building new homes using fibro sheets.

Mr. W contracted mesothelioma and commenced proceedings in the Dust Diseases Tribunal of New South Wales against James Hardie, the manufacturer of the fibro he worked with. His claimed settled on a confidential basis prior to trial.

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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