Miners stop work due to concerns regarding dust exposure

UPDATE:

Members of the workforce at Anglo American's Grasstree mine have not commenced duties underground this afternoon, due to concerns they have expressed regarding dust exposure.  

Anglo American acknowledges the serious potential risk of overexpose to dust and the workforce's concerns are being actively addressed through information sessions currently underway.  

Anglo American can confirm compliant and effective dust controls are in place at each mine site and the Mine's Inspectorate monitors this compliance on a regular basis.  

EARLIER:

Queensland mine workers are walking off the job today amidst revelations that black lung disease has returned to the state after supposedly being eradicated decades ago.

CFMEU Queensland District president Steve Smyth said the resurgence of the disease has sent shock waves through the mining community.

"Workers will walk off mines today for their own health.  Right now we don't know how far this disease has spread and continuing to work in conditions that cause Black Lung will put more peoples lives at risk," Mr Smyth said.

While welcoming the Minister's announcement of a review of outstanding medical records and current procedures, the Union will be seeking an open and public inquiry.

Mr Smyth says that all issues that led to health issues need to be examined.

"We need to shine a light on where the failings in the system are.  Whether that's regulation, or safety short cuts by mining companies," Mr Smyth said.

"A public inquiry will give an opportunity for victims, experts, and those in the regulatory process to voice their views publicly."

The CFMEU is calling for public hearings in Brisbane as well as in communities and towns affected by this deadly disease.

One of the most damning revelations has been the release of a 1983 report from the Mines Department showing black lung still existed in the 1980s, with 75 cases identified but covered up.

"The workers involved in that report have never received the treatment they need, and only now are we discovering this as we sit on the edge of another outbreak," Mr Smyth said.

"Hopefully we have moved on from this era of secrecy and will now have a full public and open process to air grievances and identify the solutions that will eradicate this disease for good."


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