In 1980, I was serving in HMNZS OTAGO and taking part in the Exercise RIMPAC out of Pearl Harbour. Just before commencement of the exercise OTAGO was ordered into Pearl Harbour to have all its steam pipes inspected and re-lagged with a material which was not asbestos. This work was subsequently carried out over a 2 – 3 week period and hence we missed the entire RIMPAC exercise. I remember that HMNZS TARANAKI was also ordered alongside in Auckland for similar treatment.
It was during this period in Pearl Harbour that the ships company were placed on the National Asbestos Register. We were not moved ashore while this work was carried out and continues to work, live and breathe in the environment. I have recently been thinking about this register and decided to check if my name was actually recorded. The response was ‘Yes’ I was registered however there was little detail as to how or why I was registered. I was invited to complete the form providing details of my exposure to asbestos which I have now completed. The NAR is maintained by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
Here are some steps you may wish to take.
Step 1. Visit the MBIE website which can be found by clicking HERE
Step 2. There is a fact sheet for guidance on the web and can be viewed by clicking HERE
Step 3. Determine if your name is actually on the NAR – This is achieved by sending an email to NODSRegistrar@worksafe.govt.nz . The email should include your full name (and other surname if female and since married or divorced) and your date of birth. The date of birth is critical if you may have a name that is more common (Smith, Brown, White etc.) this will ensure they get the correct person.
Step 4. Complete the Asbestos Exposure Registration Form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org . I would recommend that this form be completed even if you are registered to ensure that your details are accurate and up to date.
Cast your mind back to the old ships, the Cruisers, the Loch’s, the Whitby’s, the Leander’s, the Minesweepers, the Endeavour, Lachlan and other ancient craft. We all worked, lived and slept under these pipes which were lagged with asbestos. We fired guns and the dust particles were all around, we sanded and painted these pipes to make them look tiddly. Ignorance is bliss.
I am not sure how this may help you but if by bad lack you suffer from Asbestosis or other related disease in the future it may help to have your name registered as being exposed to asbestos during the course of your working life in the Defence of your country.