Enquiries about asbestos are often directed to local councils. Understanding the types of inquiries that these councils receive, and how they respond to them, can lead to more effectivestrategies for reducing the frequency of asbestos-related diseases among exposed workers.
The benefits of looking into these inquiries are two-fold.
Firstly, by observing the responses of councils, it is easyto confirm whether or not appropriate information is being shared in relationto the safe removal of the asbestos and whether more strategic policies needto be implemented.
Secondly, the data collected from these inquiries can indicate areas of the community that are at greater risk of asbestos exposure and thus shape targeted policy responses. WorkSafe is involved in a key government initiative around this issue.
A research project was developed to observe asbestos-related council inquiries from both these angles, under the leadership of ProfessorMalcolm Sim from the Monash Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine.
As part of this project, the research team contacted all Victorian councils about their procedures.
Research in this area concluded in 2014, with the delivery of afinal report to WorkSafe.
The report supports a more systematic approach to sharing asbestos information, and a more widespread dissemination of official asbestos kits.
The report also recommends that a standard, systematic policy be implemented with regards to the collection of data around asbestos inquiries. This will help researchers reliably identify more asbestos risks and trends into the future.