Reports reveal latent black lung
Records suggest cases of ‘black lung’ were known about before its official ‘re-emergence’.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has been documenting the return of the potentially-fatal coal workers’ pneumoconiosis since May last year, but reports this week say Queensland workers compensation data has revealed a number of claims for the disease between 2007 and 2012.
At least one of those claims is still pending, according to the ABC.
Additionally, Safe Work Australia records 2000 to 2014 revealed two workers’ compensation claims for black lung in New South Wales and one claim in Western Australia.
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) says 2007’s one successful compensation claim for black lung, was from a mine that is now shut down, which was run by a company that has since gone under.
But given that black lung symptoms often take years to appear, the authorities have been warned to keep a close eye.
QRC chief Michael Roche says the health sector is failing to identify black lung in workers' x-rays.
He said that keeping centralised information from hospital and workers compensation authorities is “something that, yes, should have been done years ago, should have been led by government, is now being led by government.”