Black Lung: Miners ready to speak at today's inquiry
US BLACK lung specialist Dr Robert Cohen hopes Australia will adopt a national approach to tackling dust disease in coal mines.
Dr Cohen will give evidence in the Senate Select Committee on Health hearing into the re-emergence of coalworker's pneumoconiosis, or black lung, in Queensland.
He will speak via teleconference at Mackay Grande Suites today, alongside miners and other stakeholders, during the second day of public hearings.
"I find it interesting that states each have their own rules and standards for coal dust levels, for coal health medicals," Dr Cohen said.
"I think it makes sense that there be a more national approach to things and a standardisation throughout Australia."
Six coal Queensland mine workers have recently been diagnosed with the lung disease, which was previously thought to have been eradicated.
Former Grasstree Mine and NSW mines worker Keith Stoddart, who was officially diagnosed last month, will speak at today's hearing.
"I just want to see the problem fixed," he said.
"I'll be saying to the Senate Committee that we have to get the dust levels under control in Queensland."
A panel of Grasstree and Oaky North mine workers will also give evidence.
Three representatives from New South Wales organisation Coal Services will speak via teleconference.
The organisation, which is owned jointly by the NSW Minerals Council and the CFMEU, has already made a written submission to the inquiry.
In the submission's introduction, chief executive officer Lucy Flemming wrote that Coal Services had collaborated with the State Government and stokeholders and had "been successful in the mitigation of 'black lung' in the NSW coal fields".
The paper stated that over the past 14 years, the collaborative model had shown a more than 75% reduction in occupational disease claims in the state.
The paper recommended the implementation of "ongoing independent mandatory testing in relation to significant hazards" and warned that "complacency is a significant risk".
Mackay Hospital and Health Service adjunct associate professor David Farlow has not made a written submission but will give evidence today.