A former Logan City council worker says he was told to dump asbestos cement in general landfill and fears hundreds of people may have been exposed to the deadly fibres.

Scott Campbell was in charge of a team of men who laid footpaths across the Logan region, south of Brisbane.

From 1999 to 2003, his team replaced old asbestos Telstra pits with plastic pits.

He says he was exposed to deadly asbestos fibres every day as he laid down nearly half the footpaths in Logan suburbs.

"When you're doing footpaths you just scrape the grass off the top and a lot of time you hit these pits," he said.

"Because they're only five to 10 millimetres thick, they just explode."

Despite raising concerns, Mr Campbell says the workers were not given safety gear and were told to dump asbestos cement in general landfill.

"You've got to compete with contractors so you've got to do everything on the sly - you've got to take shortcuts and that's the way it was handled," he said.

Crews smash asbestos pit in front of school

He says hundreds of asbestos pits were mishandled.

In one instance, crews hit a pit in front of Crestmead State School as children were leaving to go home for the day.

He says they often disturbed old asbestos pits in front of passers-by.

"Because council had a lot more overheads than contractors, we had to cut a lot more corners to compete in the open market with contractors," he said.

Mr Campbell now worries he will contract an asbestos-related disease.

A spokesman for Logan City Council says it takes both the safety of employees and correct asbestos handling and management procedures very seriously.

"Council is not aware of the specific allegations being raised, however would be happy to investigate the detailed allegations should the former employee wish to raise them directly with council," the spokesman said.

More workers falling ill from asbestos exposure

The ABC has also learnt that a growing number of former Telstra workers are contracting deadly asbestos-related diseases.

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.

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.

A Telstra spokesman says the telco aims to manage compensation claims of any type to ensure they are handled sensitively and expeditiously.

"We handle asbestos claims on a case-by-case basis and claims are met from general operating costs," the spokesman 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.

"These pits and pipes were used all over the country."

 

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