Supplied  Black lung
Supplied Black lung

Ex-miner sues major coal company over black lung diagnosis

A 71-year-old Moranbah man has filed a $1.3m workplace injury lawsuit against a major coal mine company because he contracted black lung disease.

Bernard Bell claims he has a permanent disability, coughs regularly, suffers shortness of breath and wheezing.

Mr Bell, through Mackay company, Macrossan and Amiet Solicitors, is suing BHP Coal for $1,323.454.12.

Court documents were filed at Rockhampton Supreme Court in February.

According to the documents, Mr Bell was employed at BHP's Goonyella Riverside Mine between 2005 and 2007 as a trades assistant, electrician and fitter.

Mr Bell claims he was exposed to "an unacceptable and unsafe level of respirable dust" at the Shecon Operation Area at the open cut mine.

As a result, he developed pneumoconiosis, commonly known as black lung disease.

The court documents cite tests performed by Queensland mines testing and research station Simtars revealed dust and dust level indicated "levels of respirable quartz were above acceptable levels".

"Tests were regularly regarded as invalid as the testing equipment was choked with dust," the documents read.

Mr Bell alleges there was no mandatory requirement to wear a dust mask.

It is also alleged, at no time when Mr Bell was employed at the mine was he "provided any information on the risk of contracting coal workers pneumoconiosis through his work duties" or on the "dangers of employees being exposed to respirable dust".

No defence has yet been filed.


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