Black Lung issue refuses to go away

Queensland’s CFMEU Mining and Energy Division continues to work tirelessly to highlight and address the critical occupational health issue of Black Lung.

This week union officials and workers appeared before a state parliamentary committee to outline further impacts of this disease, and the action required to end this scourge.

CFMEU Mining & Energy District President Stephen Smyth and internationally renowned Black Lung specialist Professor Robert Cohen publicly called for  urgent action to lower permissible dust levels in Queensland mines, which are almost twice the level allowed in US coal mines.

Miner and Black Lung sufferer Percy Verrall – pictured above – spoke of his chronic and crippling disease.

“We have been let down by successive governments with poor regulations and by the mining companies who have failed to enforce even these poor standards at their mines.

“We are victims of a disease they claimed had been eradicated and something needs to be done to make sure workers are properly protected so they won’t have this terrible condition inflicted on them.”

Questions were also raised about the impact of lung disease on other workers in recent major infrastructure projects in Queensland.

Professor Cohen said scores of Queenslanders have likely died of black lung without being diagnosed.

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