Telstra troubles continue as workers speak out
Reports say Telstra could have a serious problem in the wings, with several workers saying they were repeatedly exposed to unsafe asbestos levels and practices.
One former Brisbane City Council worker has now turned whistleblower, saying he and others were made to replace asbestos Telstra phone pits with plastic ones. Scott Campbell said he was exposed to asbestos fibres and dangerous conditions eveyr day as he laid down on the Logan footpaths.
Mr Campbell says crews were given no safety gear and told to dump waste in general local landfill.
Raymond Colbert from the Asbestos Related Disease Support Society Queensland says the overall number of workers falling ill from asbestos is steadily on the rise.
"[There's] a lot more places it's coming from now. You've got the people who are disturbing the existing product and they're doing it without that training and without that supervision," he said.
Among those are Telstra staff who built or maintained the pits.
"They should be sent a letter: 'You may have been exposed, monitor your health' and all that is is getting regular chest x-rays," he said.
Asbestos support group solicitor Thady Blundell says there is serious concern about Telstra workers.
"We're starting to see people now develop asbestos disease who were exposed in the '70s and '80s, so there's been a regular incidence of asbestos disease amongst Telstra workers," he said.
More than 120 compensation claims have been made to Telstra in the past decade. Eighty people have received payouts and 11 claims are still pending.