Qld mining firms face $2m black lung claim

At the coalface. Photo from australianmining.com.au

At the coalface. Photo from australianmining.com.au

A former coal miner diagnosed with black lung disease has filed a $2 million damages claim against a group of Queensland mining companies.

Jason Bing, 46, spent 13 years working in various mines across the state and is one of at least 21 coal workers who’ve been diagnosed with a disease, caused by inhaling coal dust and once believed to have been eradicated in Australia.

Shine Lawyers on Monday filed a claim against 16 mining companies that own or operate the mostly underground sites where Mr Bing worked.

They include subsidiaries of Anglo American Coal, BHP Billiton, Glencore Coal Queensland, Peabody Energy Australia and Oaky Creek Coal.

The law suit alleges mine owners and operators did not provide a safe work environment and that personal protective equipment was inadequate.

It also alleges ventilation systems at the mostly underground sites where Mr Bing worked failed to prevent a dangerous build up of coal dust.

The $2 million includes claims for lost income, lost earning capacity and psychological trauma.

Roger Singh, from Shine Lawyers, believes it’s the first such action filed in the Supreme Court, and says it’s about achieving justice for a sick man.

‘He’s been unable to work, his quality of life is deteriorating as this terrible disease takes hold and he’s lost his career and his home,’ Mr Singh said in a statement.

Mr Bing worked at the coal mines under various labour hire arrangements.


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