Advocate, Black Lung Victims Support Group
The re-emergence of Dust Diseases in Queensland’s coal industry is having a devastating effect on workers, their families and mining communities. More than 100 employees have been diagnosed as suffering from different forms of pneumoconiosis, predominantly Black Lung and silicosis. There are many more Victims being regularly identified.
While the main challenge facing our entire industry is the effective prevention of Dust Diseases in our coal mines, the identification of all Victims is a moral obligation on all stakeholders in the industry. This involves not only world’s best practice testing of the present workforce but also of those who have retired from the industry and those who have left it before retiring.
While prevention and identification of Black Lung are essential, the most pressing issue at the present time is the treatment and health care of those who have been, and will continue to be, Victims of these Dust Diseases. This paper on behalf of Black Lung Victims will outline our proposals for how the industry working with government can provide for the life-long medical care needed for the best possible quality of life for sufferers. We owe them at least that.
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- Post explosion atmosphere monitoring:– An industry study into available, low powered, sensors were conducted. The study was to identify commercially available equipment to sample the mine atmosphere post an underground incident.
- Ultra-resilient communication system:– An investigation was undertaken into the feasibility of components for a robust and resilient mine communication network. The network must survive an underground incident and be able to transmit information in and out of an underground mine environment.
- Blast protection (or blast resilience):– The blast protection was evaluated through subjecting different shapes of enclosures to actual blasts, in an explosion propagation tube.
- Navigational aids:– A series of test were undertaken to determine the suitability of using visible light, infra-red as well as radar to aid in self rescue. All test were undertaken in a “dusty”, or low-visibility, environment.
- Roadside facing batter angle.
- Width at the top, if applicable, trapezoidal bunds.
- Distance to high-wall.
- Is an objective and quantitative process to monitor / audit bunds compliance to standard in real time.
- Cost and time efficient solution as to comply with inspectorate recommendations then survey would be required, incurring in extra cost to audit.
- Visibility across all active bunds and ranking of deficient sections to prioritise as per criticality.