Two CQ coal miners diagnosed with deadly Black Lung disease
QUEENSLAND mine workers walked off the job today amidst revelations black lung disease has returned to Queensland after supposedly being eradicated decades ago.
Two Central Queensland coal miners who were emloyees at Vale-owned Carborough Downs mine have been diagnosed with the deadly disease.
Black lung disease, also known as coal workers' pneumoconiosis, refers to any lung disease that develops from inhaling coal dust and comes from the fact that those suffering it have lungs that look black instead of pink.
CFMEU Queensland District president Steve Smyth said the resurgence of the disease has sent shock waves through the mining community.
"Workers will walk off mines today for their own health. Right now we don't know how far this disease has spread and continuing to work in conditions that cause Black Lung will put more people's lives at risk," Mr Smyth said.
CFMEU will seek an open and public inquiry into the matter, despite news of a review of outstanding medical records and current procedures.
Mr Smyth said all issues that lead to health issues need to be examined.
"We need to shine a light on where the failings int he system are. Whether that's regulation, or safety short cuts by mining companies," he said.
"A public inquiry will give an opportunity for victims, experts and those in regulatory process to voice their views publicly."
The CFMEU is calling for public hearings in Brisbane, as well as in communities and towns affected by the deadly disease.
One of the most damning revelations has been the release of a 1983 report from the Mines Department showing black lung still existed in the 1980s, with 75 cases identified but covered up.
"The workers involved in that report have never received the treatment they need, and only now are we discovering this as we sit on the edge of another outbreak," Mr Smyth said.
"Hopefully we have moved on from this era of secrecy and will now have a full public and open process to air grievances and identify the solutions that will eradicate this disease for good."