EXPOSURE: Aaron Davis covered in dust after a 12-hour shift at Grasstree mine, near Middlemount.
EXPOSURE: Aaron Davis covered in dust after a 12-hour shift at Grasstree mine, near Middlemount. Contributed

Ex-worker concerned over black lung disease

DURING a 15-year career in coal mining, Mackay resident Aaron Davis was never told about the possibility of developing black lung disease.

"Not that I can recall, in any of our safety meetings, but dust suppression and the issue of dust was always brought up," he said.

Mr Davis said he was worried after hearing three of the six Queensland coal miners diagnosed with black lung had worked at Carborough Downs mine, near Moranbah.

Mr Davis worked as a machine operator at mines including Carborough Downs, Oaky Creek No. 1, Broadmeadow and Grasstree.

He said the fact chest x-rays had failed to pick up some cases of black lung had him and his colleagues concerned.

"Most of the people I keep in contact with... have emphasised that they want their chest x-rays re-checked and re-checked to make sure they haven't got any problems," he said.

Mr Davis is also worried about his father, who worked in mining for more than 20 years.

"He's been told he has emphysema - because he smokes a lot, and that's related to smoking - and I'm trying to press for him to go to the union and get his latest x-ray tested for black lung," Mr Davis said.

However the re-emergence of black lung has not dissuaded Mr Davis from returning to industry.

He's been off work since 2015, recovering from spinal surgery, but hopes to work in mining again.


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