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Dust busters: Global Miners gather to bust mine lung dust disease

Mining and Energy Union 2 mins read

Mining and Energy Union and international representatives to address media in Cairns on Wednesday 28 February at 10:30am.  

The Mining and Energy Union Queensland District has organised a Global Health and Safety Conference that will bring together international representatives for a weeklong congress about the prevalence of respiratory disease in the mining industry.  

The Conference will bring together world experts on dust disease, including doctors, researchers, academics and workplace representatives from various countries, including Albania, South Africa, Colombia, USA, Indonesia, Mongolia and more.  

Mining and Energy Union Vice-President Stephen Smyth said that since the re-detection of Black Lung in 2015, cooperation between unions, regulators and medical professionals has led to a suite of reforms aimed at preventing and screening for the disease in Queensland’s black coal industry.  

This includes the halving of the workplace exposure standard for coal dust, mandatory reporting of dust monitoring data, and compulsory respiratory health screening for mineworkers throughout their careers. 

Mr Smyth said that the conference would be an opportunity for stakeholders to come together to learn from one another and to begin to develop best practices that can be rolled out globally.  

“If a disease like black lung, once thought to be eradicated, can re-emerge in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, in one of its most profitable industries we know that this is a problem for workers in this industry elsewhere. 

“We want to bring together leading experts and stakeholders to have an open dialogue focused on the prevention, medical surveillance, treatment, and compensation of those affected or at risk of developing a respiratory illness at work.   

“It shouldn’t be part and parcel that just because you work in a hazardous industry that you should expect to develop a disease at some stage in your working life.  

Mr Smyth also said that a key theme of the conference was to develop ways to empower workers to ask questions about their respiratory health at work.  

“I appreciate that this is a big topic, and workers might find it overwhelming, but a key thing we want to emphasize is that dust disease is preventable. 

“There are steps and practices we can take to ensure the health our workmates and ourselves, and that’s something that we’d like to be a key outcome of the conference.” 

Who: Representatives from the Mining and Energy Union and Conference speakers  
Date: Wednesday 28 February 2024
Time: 10:30am
Where: The Hilton Hotel, Cairns 
Media contact: Monique Blasiak (0430 515 162)  

Key Facts:

Mining and Energy Union and international representatives to address media in Cairns on Wednesday 28 February at 10:30am. 

Contact details:

Monique Blasiak (0430 515 162)

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