Bunnings urges 'kNOw Asbestos' learning course for Christmas home renovators


Monday, 22 December 2014

Bunnings has teamed up with Cancer Council Western Australia to ensure home renovators hone their ‘DIY’ skills and take advantage of a free online learning course about identifying and safely handling asbestos before starting any projects over the Christmas New Year period.

Bunnings stores across Western Australia are now prominently displaying flyers alerting customers about how to access the free online education module that was developed by Cancer Council WA and the Department of Health.

The free course, kNOw Asbestos In Your Home, allows home renovators and DIYers to learn about locating asbestos, safely handling it and disposing of it, as well as learning more about asbestos-related diseases.

Melissa Ledger, Cancer Council WA Cancer Smart Manager, says we are currently experiencing a third wave of people, the DIY wave, being diagnosed with asbestos related diseases like mesothelioma after short term or low level exposure to asbestos in the home.

“Many home renovators aren’t able to recognise that asbestos is present in building materials and fencing around the house, and aren’t sure what they’re doing when they’re handling asbestos” Ms Ledger said.

“We are pleased that Bunnings has come on board to help reduce the impact of this third wave.

“Encouraging customers to complete the simple online education course ‘kNOw asbestos in your home’ may make the difference between being exposed to asbestos fibres and not,” she said. 

Australia has some of the highest numbers of people diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases in the world, and numbers of malignant mesothelioma (MM) cases continue to climb, particularly those associated with home maintenance and renovation.

The course is designed to give the DIY home renovator basic knowledge about asbestos, and the risks and safe practices when working with or removing, small amounts of asbestos-containing material.

A 2012 survey by the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Control in WA of 300 people showed one in four people surveyed thought they should know more about the safe handling and removal of asbestos, and more than
40 per cent of respondents found it difficult to even identify materials that may contain asbestos.

Ms Ledger says the course is a great way for people to educate themselves and ensure they know what they’re doing when embarking on any renovating job around the house, big or small.

 “People need to remember that asbestos is a hazardous substance, and we would encourage the DIY renovator to use a licenced professional asbestos removalist for any amount over 10 m2.

“But if you are going to attempt to handle and dispose of asbestos yourself, doing the online course will be invaluable,” she said.

The course is available at eLearning.cancer.org.au

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