OPINION: Those facing black lung exposure deserve justice

It is now clear that claims about the eradication of Black Lung in Queensland were a fallacy, as more cases come to light.

The Senate Committee report pulled no punches listing "industry indifference", "regulator failure" and "inconsistent risk mitigation" for the re-emergence of the coal miners disease.

The important thing now is how to ensure this doesn't happen to another generation of miners and also how we can support the current workforce and the newly diagnosed.

A safe workplace is a basic right, especially in 2016 with the benefit of hindsight and the horrific legacy of asbestos exposure.

There must be a strong regulatory and enforcement regime to reduce exposures and penalise mine operators and employers that fail their staff.

This will of course only protect future employees.

The coal miners working now, and those who've been at the coal face in recent decades, should be informed about their legal rights.

There are also legal time limits on compensation applications that apply after diagnosis and the nature of your engagement at a mine is significant - if you are a contractor or employee.  

Let's learn from the lessons from asbestos and prevent another wave of insidious industrial disease that is black lung.

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