Black Lung In Open Cut Now!
Recently the first Open Cut Coal Miner was diagnosed with Black Lung, which until now was thought to be an Underground Coal Miner’s disease.
My partner, “The Real Miner” works underground and I am a “Gravel Scratcher,” open cut operator. Both our work families are at risk and a lot must change, fast, to prevent any more of our peeps learning they too have Black Lung.
Currently the Qld Government are holding an inquiry into this awful disease. Did it ever go away, or did the reporting and follow up processes fail us? Let’s hope the inquiry is not all words and the blame game. We want actionable outcomes because whilst they talk, we continue to work hard in our dusty coal mines.
A mate of ours recently had a “routine” chest x-ray which showed an unusual scratch on the film. He was sent for an MRI to have a better look, and luckily was given the all clear. It was a worrying time for us all. What was the next step if the scratch was still there? Wait 6 weeks until his x-ray was looked at by a “qualified” person in the US?
I find it amazing not one person in our country is qualified to diagnose this for our fellow Aussies. How has this happened? Can’t we get one of those in the US to come here and teach our Docs how to do it? I’m sorry but I can’t get my head around this part of the whole disgraceful debacle.
The Real Miner asked if he could please have a refund for all the x-rays he has paid for over the years to keep his job underground. Have they even been looked at yet, or are they in a box somewhere?
On the good news front, I hear that many Open Cut mines are now paying for their workers to have chest x-rays if they choose to. I am yet to confirm if they are also paying for the contractors on site, or is that up to the labour hire companies themselves?
This coal mining ain’t all it’s cracked up to be at times. You start to wonder if it’s worth it? The long hours, being away from home, job security going out the window and now this Black Lung disease to boot.
A few mines are again hiring newbies to the industry and people are still keen to get their families in, so I guess they don’t think it’s all that bad yet!
I wonder if I could drive a cane tractor? Hmmm don’t know if I could breathe that awful smelling dunda all day?..so coal mining it is!