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MINERS HEALTH Mining occupational disease

Another mineworker diagnosed with pneumoconiosis

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The NSW Resources Regulator has confirmed that a 61-year-old mineworker with about 41 years’ coal mining experience has been diagnosed with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis after working across a range of mines in Queensland and New South Wales.

The regulator said that the mineworker was employed at numerous coal mines in Queensland between 1972 and 2015 including (but not limited to) Moura, Peak Downs, Saraji, Norwich Park, Burton, Isaac Planes and Maules Creek.

“He had worked in underground coal mines for several years at the start of his career. For the remainder of his mining career, he had worked in open-cut coal mines” a statement from the regulator read.

The regulator confirmed in its’ report that”In 2015, he began working at Maules Creek Mine in north-west NSW, where he remained working until he was certified as unfit for work in September 2019. His unfit-for-work status related to pneumoconiosis and a throat condition arising from an unrelated incident, in which he inhaled fumes from burning coal.”

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The worker has also been diagnosed with emphysema, which was believed to have been caused by cigarette smoking.

The NSW mine safety regulator has published a full investigation report into how the worker may have contracted the disease. The Regulator has found it is reasonable to conclude that the worker’s condition is related to his work as a coal miner.

The Regulator has ruled out one incidence of exposure is responsible for the disease state “it cannot reasonably be determined, based on a review of the evidence obtained, whether the worker contracted the disease as a consequence of exposure while working at a particular mine.”

Hi prognosis was unclear at the time of writing.

You can read the full report into the mineworker pneumoconiosis online here

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AMSJ April 2022