Section of a coal worker's lung showing black lung disease with progressive massive fibrosis.Contributed
Section of a coal worker's lung showing black lung disease with progressive massive fibrosis.Contributed Contributed

CQ miner is 19th victim

A CENTRAL Queensland miner has become the 19th person in the state diagnosed with black lung disease.

The latest victim is a 44-year-old man who has worked in underground mines for the past decade.

Meanwhile, a former Oaky North underground coal miner was given the all-clear to keep working underground in 2009 despite black lung being "clearly” visible on an x-ray.

The Queensland Parliamentary inquiry into Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung, heard the mine's nominated medical adviser (NMA) incorrectly diagnosed the problem as a different chest disease when the worker moved from a Mt Isa mine to Glencore's Oaky North mine.

The worker was then allowed to work underground and was exposed to more coal dust. He was diagnosed with black lung in 2015.

Speaking at the inquiry Glencore health and safety director Kylie Ah Wong said the company had investigated how the case was missed.

"With that particular case there was clearly an issue with the chest x-ray,” she said. "It wasn't diagnosed as coal workers pneumoconiosis which is why he was allowed to return underground.

"That NMA ... is not with us any longer.”

The inquiry heard a fourth former Glencore worker has been diagnosed with black lung. In an earlier submission to the inquiry Glencore said three former workers had confirmed black lung cases.

But Glencore chief operating officer Ian Cribb said they had recently learnt a former contractor who worked at the Oaky Number One and Oaky North mines had been diagnosed with black lung.

"We were recently notified by common law action that we were nominated as one of four or five places he had worked,” he said.

ARM NEWSDESK


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