Malcolm Sim writes in The Conversation (15.7.16) about the reappearance of cases of ‘black lung’ disease among Queensland coal miners, and the outcomes of a state government review into the health assessment regime in the coal mining industry.
‘Recent cases of black lung in Queensland coal miners after many years of no known cases have raised important questions about control of dust exposure in coal mines, as well as the adequacy of medical screening to detect such cases at an early stage.
‘A review for the Queensland government on the health assessment of miners has identified serious deficiencies at virtually all levels of the scheme.
‘Black lung is the commonly used name for coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, which is a lung condition where inhaled coal dust causes scarring of lung tissue. Black lung can cause severe symptoms including shortness of breath, heart problems and death, and so it is important to detect it early and reduce further exposure to coal dust.’