BLACK LUNG: Percy Verrall was diagnosed with black lung disease in 2015. He was the first Australian diagnosed with the disease in 30 years.
BLACK LUNG: Percy Verrall was diagnosed with black lung disease in 2015. He was the first Australian diagnosed with the disease in 30 years. Contributed

'Catastrophic failure' put Central Queensland workers at risk

THE re-emergence of black lung disease was a "catastrophic failure” at almost every regulatory level, a parliamentary committee has found.

The report also calls for an immediate reduction to the Queensland occupational exposure limit (OEL) for respirable coal dust and silica, to become the lowest in Australia.

The report of the Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis Select Committee into the re-emergency of the deadly disease, thought to have been eradicated in Australia, was tabled in Queensland Parliament this morning.

The report recommends the establishment of a new independent authority, which is set to be based in Mackay.

The Mine Safety and Health Authority will administer an improved Coal Workers' Health Scheme aimed at protecting workers in both underground and above-ground mines.

The report makes 68 recommendations to raise the level of oversight and compliance, transparency and accountability for all industry stakeholders.

In Queensland, the maximum allowable dust exposure level for a shift is 3mg per cubic metre of air, a figure double the national standard implemented in the United States in 2016.



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