Home' Air Force News : December 10th 2009 Contents Your new flight path
If your next posting is in civvy street, Defence Health will be there for you. When you leave the ADF,
you and your family will remain eligible for Defence Health membership for life. If you join within
two months of discharge you'll get immediate cover with no waiting periods. And if you're transferring
to the active Reserves, you can take advantage of special discount pricing.
So call 1800 335 425 or visit www.defencehealth.com.au to see how we can help you with the transition.
AIR FORCE December 10, 2009
Current and retired ADF members and
APS employees who would like to have
their asbestos-related medical status
evaluated are encouraged to contact 1800
Defence (1800 333 3623) and register
with the Defence Asbestos Exposure
State that you have some asbestos-
You will be asked some questions and
then, if needed, sent an information pack
containing your registration number and
an asbestos fact sheet.
You will be given the option of pursu-
ing an examination by HSA.
Contact HSA and make an appoint-
ment. You will be counselled by HSA
medical staff and may be referred to
a respiratory physician. You will get a
The report may also suggest you have
a compensation claim and recommend
you contact the Department of Veterans'
Affairs or COMCARE.
More information can be found at:
programs/asbestos/ or (Defence Intranet)
HOW CAN I BE SURE I'M OK?
CHECK IT OUT: If
you think you may
have been exposed
to airborne asbestos
fibres, such as
in older Defence
or materiel, you
to register with
Photo: LAC Aaron Curran
By Hugh McKenzie
SERVING and former ADF members who may
have been exposed to airborne asbestos fibres are
encouraged to sign up for a free medical assess-
Director of the Defence Centre for Occupational
Health John Heggart said that years ago, when the
dangers to health from asbesos were first identified,
concern was significant and a lot of people registered
and went through a medical examination process.
However, he and his team were worried that a more
recent drop in registrations for asbestos evaluation
meant that the Defence Asbestos Exposure Evaluation
Scheme might have slipped below peoples' radar.
"Based on the number of people registering, there
doesn't appear to be a lot of concern," Mr Heggart
said.He said people needed to be reminded that the
problem still existed.
"We've noticed a falling-off of registrations and
we've also had correspondence from people who said
they didn't know the scheme existed," he said.
"We want people to be aware the scheme is there
for them, whether they're currently serving or retired
ADF or APS.
"Registration is a simple procedure and we can
make sure that if there is a health problem, it can be
addressed as quickly as possible through our arrange-
ment with Health Services Australia (HSA).
"Individuals can decide whether or not to pursue
the process at any time; it is completely confidential."
HSA medical staff would provide counselling and
possibly refer the person to a respiratory physician
for further testing at the medical examination. They
would then be issued with a report, which may recom-
mend a follow-up examination in future years if there
was cause for concern.
The report could also state that they may have a
compensation claim and recommend that they contact
the Department of Veterans' Affairs or COMCARE.
Mr Heggart said a recent COMCARE investigation
found that there was still asbestos in Defence's infra-
structure and materiel, so the Department needed to
safeguard its people against any potential exposure.
"Defence is committed to the eradication of all
asbestos and asbestos products," he said.
"There is still quite a lot of asbestos around, not
only in Defence but in the wider community, particu-
larly in fibro homes.
"Safeguards have been put in place to label or
signpost asbestos and make sure people are aware of
it, and we've reduced the risk of exposure as best we
"Medical advice indicates that if it's stable and
undisturbed, that's the way it should remain. However,
if you're going to disturb it through movement or
demolition, then you need to be very careful because
this may generate airborne fibres."
See the breakout box above for information on how to
register for the scheme.
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