New black lung case identified

An eighth worker has been identified with black lung; the second coal miner in less than a week.

The worker, in his early forties, is the youngest yet to be identified with the affliction.

Late last week a 55 year old former miner was confirmed as having black lung.

The CFMEU confirmed the latest case, adding that the man worked as a contractor at a number of mines in Queensland and New South Wales.

It went on to state the group is aware of at least 12 potential cases, and the announcement of more confirmed black lung afflicted workers is sending shockwaves through the industry.

“Diagnoses are coming in more frequently and more cases are becoming public as medical assessments are coming back from specialists in the United States,” CFMEU district president Steve Smyth said.

“Each diagnosis sends shockwaves through the workers and the community, and we expect more to come:  What we are seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg.”

He went on to state that these cases are only coming to light thanks to the application of the B-Reader processes, as well as stricter X-Ray processes, calling on other miners to apply the same identification and monitoring processes as Vale have done.

“Miners are still going to work every day not knowing if they have black lung disease and it will only be after these records are checked properly by radiologists qualified to the B-Reader level will they have any certainty,” Smyth said.

He called on the QLD Government to speed up its process to introduce a coal dust monitoring group.

“The time for talk is over.  Minister Lynham and the Queensland Government need to act,”  Smyth said.

“Both the National Senate Inquiry and the Sims Review have provided dozens of recommendations to government, a number of which can be acted on right now.”