Maintenance jobs you can’t afford to put off – generic images – for Herald Sun real estate
Maintenance jobs you can’t afford to put off – generic images – for Herald Sun real estate

Former plumber files $750k asbestos claim

A FORMER plumber is claiming $750,000 in damages from Toowoomba Regional Council and Amaca Pty Ltd - formerly James Hardie and Co Pty Ltd - over his exposure to asbestos-containing building products.

Ken Watson, 77, was employed as an apprentice plumber at Toowoomba Regional Council between 1960 and 1963, where he worked with or in close vicinity to asbestos-containing building products that were manufactured by Amaca, the claim said.

The claim also said that between 1963 and 1968 he was employed as an apprentice, and later a qualified plumber by a private firm, where he again was exposed to Amaca's asbestos-containing products.

He also claims that for 40 years as a self-employed plumber, between 1968 and 2008, he was exposed to Amaca's asbestos-containing products.

"As a consequence of (Watson's) abovementioned periods of employment and self-employment, (he) was exposed to and inhaled asbestos dust and fibre released from the AC building products," the claim, filed by Rogalski Lawyers' Martin Rogalski said.

Watson is claiming that as a consequence of TRC and Amaca's breaches of their respective duties of care, he inhaled asbestos dust and fibre.

The claim said he suffers from mesothelioma - a rare, aggressive form of cancer - worsening shortness of breath, anxiety and worry, decreased life expectancy, weight loss, and shock and sequelae.

Watson claimed Toowoomba Regional Council breached its duty of care by failing to provide a safe place of work, and failing to provide proper and safe plant, equipment, and supervision.

He claimed Amaca breached its duty of care by manufacturing and supplying asbestos-containing building products when it "knew or ought to have known of the risk of injury to plaintiff" and by "failing to withdraw AC building products when it knew or ought to have known of the health risks … in circumstances where similar asbestos-free products were available".

Toowoomba Regional Council and Amaca Pty Ltd are yet to file a response to the claim.



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