TAS: Former asbestos firm tries to make amends
Source: Safety Culture
A long-established asbestos factory in Tasmania's rural north is
turning a new leaf as a way of atoning for its past.
The cement company, based near Railton, manufactured asbestos products from
1947 to 1986. It was one of only three companies in Australia to rely
heavily on producing asbestos for its business.
The company's new owner is spearheading a project to
remove asbestos from its plants. The project includes health checks to
workers and conducting investigations of the harm done from years of
producing asbestos products.
The company's general manager of health and safety said the company aims to
be the country's leader in the cement industry.
"That doesn't just mean about being the most profitable business," he said.
"We believe that our guiding principles around how we deal with safety
issues and how we treat our people are tested most times like these and
with projects like these."
To show it is serious about its project, it is opening its old books to a
historian for documentation. It is the only asbestos manufacturer to open
its books to public scrutiny.
Three thousand workers were exposed to asbestos at Railton. According to
the company, it has settled forty compensation claims with those who
suffered from an asbestos-related disease.
Half of the claimants are former employees, while the other half is
composed of the workers' kin and other people who worked with its products.