15th case confirmed
SERIOUS deficiencies in testing for Black Lung in Queensland leaves miner exposed.
Wednesday 07 September 2016
A 54-year-old miner who has worked at the Carborough underground coal mine just East of Moranbah for more than 30 years is the 15th worker to have been confirmed with Black Lung overnight.
The discovery has triggered an angry response from mining union the CFMEU who says the current system for detecting the disease in Australia is broken, claiming the miner was cleared of the disease twice in Australia before US based second checkers picked it up.
"It is unbelievable that this disease was missed twice by Australian health professionals in less than a year," CFMEU District President Mr Stephen Smyth told media.
"It's an absolute disgrace that this worker was exposed to dust for 16 months extra because people here in Australia, in the medical profession, couldn't pick up the fact he had simple pneumoconiosis.
"This failure shows that the black lung crisis is escalating and why coal mine workers have lost all confidence in the health and regulatory systems that are supposed to be there to keep them safe.
"We need independent doctors appointed by the government, paid for by industry, no links to the coal companies, and the same for the radiologists - because until they do that, no worker is going to trust this system."
A spokesperson or mines minister Anthony Lynham says the current system for testing for the disease has been vastly improved since the first confirmed case of Black lung last year.
“The x-ray screening system has improved significantly with all coal miners' chest x-rays now being read twice - once by an Australian radiologist and again by a US-based National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health approved reader,” he said.
"More than 300 x-rays have already been sent to the US to be double-checked under the new system.”