More suspected cases of black lung

Around 20 Queensland miners will be retested for black lung following US reviews of the x-rays, which have detected signs of the disease.

Eighteen out of the 257 scans sent were found to have signs of black lung, the Daily Mercury reports.

Natural resources and mines minister Anthony Lynham was concerned by the number of cases to be reviews.

“Any case is very serious to me,” he said, “We know we are going to see other cases.”

There are currently 11 confirmed cases of black lung in QLD.

The final report into the re-emergence of coal worker pneumoconiosis (CWP), the Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme, confirmed the failure of the health screening system designed to protect coal with Lynham calling for the recommendations in the report to be upheld.

Chief executives from eight underground coal mines in Queensland wrote a letter to Lynham showing their commitment to providing a safe workplace for their employees; offering re-examinations of x-rays from the last two years, and providing new x-rays to workers with scans more than two years old.

The coal dust limit in Queensland is 3mg/m3 air, currently higher than that of NSW and the USA, however unless a Safe Work investigation recommends a change on coal dust levels, QLD’s current limits will not be changed.

The Select Committee on Health’s report on black lung recommends coal mining companies adopt the lowest Australian level of 2.5mg/m3 until a national standard has been agreed upon and implemented.

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