In the past few decades, government agencies of all shapes and sizes across Australia have taken a closer look at coal dust rules and done more to protect miners and the general public from their harmful effects. However, even after all this time, regulations continue to evolve – and will likely do so for some time to come as well.
In recent months, New South Wales announced that it would boost its coal exposure standards ahead of schedule, according to the Illawarra Mercury. Initially, these new standards – on track to be the most stringent in Australia – were set to go into effect as of December 2022, but now must be adhered to by February 2021, just eight months away.
Specifically, the new standard will allow coal producers in NSW to allow workers to be exposed to 1.5 micrograms per cubic metre per eight hours on the job, a steep drop from the current 2.5 micrograms. At the same time, the state also announced new standards for diesel particulate matter exposure to go into effect at the same time.
Of course, it's not just mine workers who are exposed to the harmful effects of coal extraction, many Australians are also at risk for dust disease if they live near mining facilities, according to the Singleton Argus. However, the Environmental Protection Authority recently scaled back rules for exposure, allowing for exposure for the general public by as much as several times what workers can be exposed to.
Previously, the EPA allowed community exposure of 50 micrograms per cubic metre, but that number was recently bumped back to 80 micrograms. That could be a major point of concern for those living near mining operations, and it's something that may need to be reconsidered at the state or national level as well.
If you or someone you know may have been exposed to coal dust and are now suffering from health complications potentially as a result, it's important to know your rights and determine whether you are entitled to damages. At Gerard Malouf & Partners we can help you determine what your options are, and with our 90-day complimentary trial and No Win No Fee program, there's no financial risk for you. Get in touch with us as soon as possible to find out more.