NSW regulator investigates pneumoconiosis case

Underground Grader

A worker with around 41 years of coal mining experience has been diagnosed with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.

The New South Wales Resources Regulator stated that it could reasonably determine that the cause of disease was a result of his occupation.

He was working at the Maules Creek mine in New South Wales until he was certified as unfit for work in September last year.

His condition was related to pneumoconiosis and a throat condition arising from an unrelated accident, in which he inhaled fumes from burning coal.

This is attributed to prolonged and multiple heavy dust exposures in Queensland and New South Wales, without wearing respiratory protective equipment in many cases.

The worker also had exposure to carcinogens such as diesel and silica and cigarettes, as per his treating doctors’ diagnosis.

This led the regulator to conclude that the worker’s condition was related to his work as a coal miner.

“However, it cannot reasonably be determined, based on a review of the evidence obtained, whether the worker contracted the disease as a consequence of exposure while working at a particular mine,” the regulator stated in an investigation information release.

“The worker’s prognosis was unclear at the time of writing.”

The worker held roles as a labourer, washery plant operator, mobile plant operator, supervisor and superintendent throughout his career working in the coal industry.

This included stints at the Saraji, Isaac Plains and Peak Downs open cut mines.

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