Thursday, 20 February 2020
Black Lung and Compliance: The Great Divide

Black Lung and Compliance: The Great Divide

Black lung, or Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis (CWP) to use its formal name, is most often found in the coal mining industry or where graphite or man-made carbon products are manufactured. The disease is commonly known as “Black lung” because those diagnosed with it typically have lungs which look black instead of the pink associated with healthy individuals.

CWP was the subject of a report tabled in the Queensland parliament in May 2017 after 27 public hearings, conducted from October 2016 to March 2017. The government pulled no punches in the ‘Black lung, white lies’ report, saying the illness has not “re-emerged”, describing the re-identification of the disease as a “catastrophic failing” of public administration in the state.

With at least 22 cases confirmed in Queensland in the past two years, and more diagnoses expected to come, the government acted swiftly to determine how the regulatory environment and health and safety systems had failed, and how to better protect workers exposed to coal dust in the workplace.

The attached report from Willis Towers Watson discusses the importance of a renewed focus on health and safety protocols in the workplace to combat CWP. 

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