Lung disease amongst miners: is the situation getting worse?

Date: May 20, 2016

The NSW Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts has commended current workplace health and safety laws for supposedly helping reduce lung disease amongst miners, but not everyone is convinced black lung is being properly addressed.

Roberts praised the NSW coal industry for trying to prevent occupational diseases such as black lung and silicosis. This follows the NSW Gas Plan, which has a mixed focus in that it maintains the determination to release mining reserves but also sets a new framework promoting best practice workplace health and safety standards in the mining sector.

Invisible epidemic spreads worldwide

Black lung develops over many years due to lung inflammation and scarring triggered by coal dust. New mining safety laws, the unfortunate persistence of lung diseases, and criticism from unions over just how safe NSW's mines really are comes in the wake of a major announcement for miners in Johannesburg.

That announcement means up to 500,000 South African miners may bring a class action against 30 companies for silicosis, tuberculosis, talcosis and asbestosis. Diseases of this nature have been called an "invisible epidemic" in the American Journal of Public Health.

Black lung: a third world disease right here in Australia

Despite Queensland's Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Anthony Lynham mining minister announcing a five point action plan to "help identify and prevent coal workers' pneumoconiosis," Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Anthony Lynham announced a fresh black lung case surfaced on May 16.

This followed the Christmas 2015 revelation of new pneumoconiosis/ black lung cases in Queensland miners that which have led to inquiries established by the Queensland government and the federal senate.

A breath of fresh air

Gerard Malouf and Partners are experts in lodging claims with the Dust Diseases Board of NSW, WorkCover Queensland and in litigating claims in the Dust Diseases Tribunal of NSW and interstate. You are entitled to claim compensation for dust-related conditions including

  • Aluminosis
  • Bagassosis
  • Berylliosis
  • Byssinosis
  • Farmers' lung
  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestosis
  • ARPD Asbestos Related Pleural Disease
  • Lung cancer (with asbestos exposure)
  • Silico-tuberculosis
  • Talcosis

Damages awarded can be significant. For example, in the case of Perez v State of New South Wales [2013], $1,318,506.24 was initially awarded (although that was reduced on appeal.) The initial award covered general damages, interest on those damages, loss of expectation of life, past gratuitous care for the plaintiff and future care for the plaintiff and several family members – although an appeal later challenged the money awarded for care of grandchildren

We understand the nature of these diseases, and that symptoms often manifest as late as twenty or thirty years after the initial exposure. We are committed to our "No Win No Fee" policy , so you don't have to worry about what it's going to cost you if you talk to us. 

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.