1000 Queensland miners could have deadly black lung

THE CFMEU have reported about 1000 Queensland coal miners are showing symptoms of the deadly black lung disease and an ex-Moura miner said he is not surprised.

The miner, who turns 70 this year and wished to remain anonymous, said when he began his career working in Howard in the contract mines, it was a "pick and shovel mine".

"In the mining there they didn't have the ventilation we had in Moura," he said.

He said while cases of black lung were never good news, he said it was a lot more common before mining became more sophisticated.

"A mate of mine just died last year, but he didn't really know he had what they call black lung now," he said.

"But when he was in the hospital having trouble breathing and all that, the specialist said he must have been a heavy smoker his whole life because his lungs were black.

"He'd never smoked a day in his life - it was coal dust."

Member for Mirani, Jim Pearce, who has been a coal community advocate for many years, said workers in recent times have been pushed to make money, while possibly substituting safety.

"I think that mining companies have to accept a lot of responsibility for what is happening," he said.

"It's up to them to keep miners safe. In the past there's been a big push for dollars all the time and we've had supervisors and managers working underground who would rather take the risk to meet targets than think about their safety."

The ex-miner said he worked in the industry for about 34 years and said he was not sure if he had been tested for black lung in that time.

"I don't know if I really got tested when I was in the mine, I'm not really sure. In the last ten years I don't think I saw them do nothing about anyone swallowing too much dust," he said.

"Dust is just a hazard of working underground."

Mr Pearce said it takes "quite a while" for symptoms to show, which makes the disease more of a concern as miner's age.


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