Medicopolitical

Black lung crisis escalates

Thursday, 22 Sep 2016


A 54-year-old coal miner man from Queensland has been confirmed as the 15th case of pneumoconiosis following its re-emergence last year.

According to reports from the ABC Australian medical assessors and radiologists had cleared the worker twice before a US expert confirmed the miner had the disease.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) division president Steve Smyth said it was “unacceptable and “unbelievable” that the disease had been missed twice by Australian health professionals in less than a year.

“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.”

“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.”

Last month the Queensland government announced it would set up a parliamentary review into the re-emergence of the disease. There have also been calls to establish a Royal Commission.

Related stories:  

Call for national black lung summit 

Why the health scheme for coal workers is inadequate to detect black lung

National plan needed on coal workers pneumoconiosis: TSANZ

Black lung’s back? How we became complacent with coal miners’ pneumoconiosis

Senate investigates return of pneumoconiosis

Call for national black lung summit

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