News

More miners expected to be diagnosed with black lung disease

MORE miners are expected to be diagnosed with the potentially deadly "black lung disease", also known as coal miner's pneumoconiosis.

Professor Malcolm Sim, the expert tasked with assessing the state's black lung screening system, said the review that started last year would go over miners' past X-rays and medical records.

"The real question is what is the extent of that increase?" he said.

The CFMEU's Jason Hill said the mining union feared many more people would be diagnosed.

He said the union had up to 40 names of people concerned they or a family member might have the disease, or had died from it.

"The best treatment for it, from my understanding, is get it diagnosed early and it's sort of controllable," Mr Hill said. "But once you go to the stage two of it, you're more or less looking at a death sentence."

Mr Hill said he believed mines had been exceeding the mandated coaldust levels for a long time and "the system" had let miners down.

Five miners have been diagnosed with the disease. The miners worked at some point in their careers at Oaky Creek, Grasstree or Carborough Downs mines in central Queensland and Ipswich.

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said two of the miners spent most of their mining careers in the United Kingdom and the United States.

"Coal inspectors are working closely with all of Queensland's 12 operating underground coalmines, including those with coaldust issues related to longwall mining techniques," he said.

"Eight mines over the past 12 months have been directed to either improve monitoring or bring respirable dust levels back into compliance.

"Of Queensland's 12 operating underground coalmines, only one is exceeding dust limits now."

Dr Lynham and Mr Hill would not identify the mine exceeding the dust limit.

Dr Lynham said it would be inappropriate to name the mine - where workers are currently wearing respirators - because it might now comply with respirable dust levels.

Open cut miners were also at risk, Prof Sim said.

"It really depends on the level of dust exposure and there are some high-risk jobs in that part of the industry as well," he said.

But Queensland Resources Council chief Michael Roche said most open cut workers worked in air conditioned cabs in trucks and other equipment.

Prof Sim said there was no risk from trains carrying coal.

"This is a disease that comes on after many years of exposure to coalmine dust," he said.

Prof Sim is expected to complete an interim report on his review of the Coal Mine Workers' Health Scheme by the end of March and detailed recommendations by about June.

The Coal Mine Workers' Health Scheme sees miners have chest X-rays when they start work, at least every five years and when they retire.

Dr Lynham said the mines department and Queensland Health were cross-checking their records.

"But a priority will also be to make sure this continues into the future so no cases are missed," he said.

"This will also be part of Prof Sim's review.

"Our mining safety legislation is in the very early stages of being updated and will include a focus on what changes are required to ensure underground coaldust is kept at safe levels."

Dr Lynham has also written to the federal Minister for Resources, Josh Frydenberg, about placing the health issue on the agenda for the national council of mining ministers.

Gympie Times

Topics:  anthony lynham, black lung




New Samsung tablet a game changer

WELL-DESIGNED: Samsung's Galaxy TabPro S. You can get your own Samsung tablet free with an annual online subscription to the Daily, but the offer ends on Sunday.

Samsung is making some waves in the highly competitive tablet field

What's on this weekend at your local?

Linc Phelps is on stage for the last time before taking a performing break to release his album.

What's on this weekend in the Gympie region?

Migaloo heads north with own 'bodyguard'

Migaloo is generating a little too much excitement, it seems.

White superstar of the water will be escorted to Great Barrier Reef

Latest deals and offers

The Bachelor wash up: bacon, plank offs and that white rose

Richie Strahan, second from left, with bachelorettes Eliza, Faith, Noni and Janey in a scene from episode one of the fourth season of The Bachelor.

RICHIE Strahan meets some beautiful, and colourful, bachelorettes.

What's on the big screen this week

Matt Damon in a scene from the movie Jason Bourne.

MATT Damon returnx in the spy thriller Jason Bourne.

MOVIE REVIEW: Goldstone sure to become Aussie classic

Aaron Pedersen and Alex Russell in a scene from the movie Goldstone.

DIRECTOR Ivan Sen and Aaron Pedersen reunite for Mystery Road sequel

MOVIE REVIEW: Matt Damon in top form for Jason Bourne return

ON A MISSION: Matt Damon in a scene from the movie Jason Bourne.

LONG-awaited return of spy franchise is wall-to-wall action.

The Bachelor: Vinteaea tells why she had to walk out

Vintaea Carlos was one of 22 "bachelorettes" looking for love on the fourth season of The Bachelor.

Queensland beauty leaves Richie at rose ceremony.

Amber Heard claims Johnny Depp is stalling divorce

Amber Heard claims Johnny Depp is delaying their divorce

Is Gympie having a building boom?

There is plenty of building activity happening around the Gympie region.

New home approvals for Gympie region double

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley