Medicopolitical

Central Queensland mines non compliant with coal dust rules


Less then three months since the release of the damning Black Lung, White Lies report into coal workers’ pneumoconiosis in Queensland, four coalmines have been called out for dust monitoring breaches.

In a statement to the Queensland Parliament last week, Minister for State Development, Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham named and shamed Glencore’s Oaky North and Oaky No.1 mines and Anglo’s Moranbah North and Grosvenor mines.

“I have been advised today that four Queensland underground coalmines have allegedly failed to meet their dust-monitoring obligations during the second quarter of this year. I have been advised that the levels of noncompliance vary. However, in my view, any failure to meet their safety and health obligation is not acceptable.”

“Based on our knowledge of diseases caused by coal dust, it is my view that any failure to comply reflects a gross disregard of an operator’s obligations to protect their workforce,” Minister Lynham said.

The Black Lung, White Lies report released in May this year made 68 recommendations regarding a new Coal Workers’ Health Scheme, dust monitoring and mitigation practices and amendments to the worker’s compensation scheme.

Minister Lynham told Parliament that decisions about how to deal with the latest noncompliance were to be made by a mines inspector.

“I have voiced my concerns to the Mines Inspectorate and have been assured that decisive action is underway. Any failure to meet dust-monitoring obligations is, in my opinion, a demonstration that there is a serious issue with the safety and health management systems at these mines.”

“Under the act, the inspectors can require a full and independent audit of the mine’s safety and health management system instructions, or prosecute the mine or close the mine.

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