Call for past T.Odgers & Coy Castlemaine workers to step forward – Bendigo Advertiser

PAST workers at a Castlemaine hardware store have been asked to step forward to help in a legal case after a man who worked at the store developed deadly asbestos-induced cancer.

The suit is against the manufacturer of cement sheeting containing asbestos on behalf of a man who developed deadly cancer mesothelioma after working at hardware store T. Odgers & Coy in the 1960s.
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The incurable cancer can be caused by exposure to tiny airborne asbestos fibres, which become trapped in the lungs.
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Maurice Blackburn lawyer Colleen Bolger said the man had worked at the hardware store for a few years, where he handled the cement sheeting as part of his job.

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She said witnesses who had worked at T.Odgers & Coy during the 1960s could assist in the case by describing conditions in the store, and how the cement sheeting was handled.
Ms Bolger said the dangers of asbestos had been known since the 1930s, and its link to cancer since the 1950s.
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She said the manufacturer had a duty to warn people of the dangers of handling the cement sheeting, including the hardware store, workers and consumers of the product.

“By the time our client was working at the hardware store, it was mid-1960s. Unfortunately the dangers were known, but the manufacturers of the cement sheeting didn’t take action for decades,” she said.

Ms Bolger said when talking about decades-old events it was helpful to have people’s recollections, because different people would remember different aspects of the workplace.
She said Maurice Blackburn had received a good response from the local community in its search for witnesses, but urged any remaining witnesses to come forward.
“It’s really common that because of the elapse of time, that cases [like this] consist of the recollections of a number of different people,” Ms Bolger said.

“The more people that do recall working there, the better.”

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Ms Bolger said the case would move swiftly, because of the aggressive nature of the mesothelioma.
She said she didn’t know whether anyone else had developed cancer after working at the store.
The Australian Cancer Council estimates 868 new cases of mesothelioma will be diagnosed in Australia in 2021.
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There is currently no cure for the cancer, which has a five-year survival rate of about 6.3 per cent.
The only known risk factor for developing mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, but it can take 20 to 60 years for the cancer to develop.
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