Following from my first book I had planned to do a series of books over a number of years aimed at the various trade groups. This plan was brought forward with Comcare ( Federal Government Department responsible for workplace safety, rehabilitation and compensation) coming forward to promote our first book and approaching us to write one specifically for electricians as part of the Asbestos Innovation Fund.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which had low treatment and refinement costs. Its unique properties of fire resistance, tensile strength, sound absorption, low electrical conductivity and chemical resistance made it a cheap and simple way to solve many material design problems.
In Australia we are fortunate to have many large mineral deposits. However we also have large asbestos deposits and discovery in various states led to a boom in cheap products using asbestos.
Asbestos was used extensively in everything from low voltage electrical devices to switchboards and high voltage applications including powerstation insulation.
Electricians* are one of the highest trade groups at risk from exposure to asbestos.
Over 600 hundred new cases of asbestos related disease are being diagnosed each year in Australia. These are preventable diseases if safety procedures and personal protective equipment are used.
For the electrician this can present a potential problem everyday when carrying out work on any older electrical equipment or even running cables. If someone tells you all the asbestos has been removed consider that as an indication it was there in the first place and may still be there.