Coal Mining: How It Endangers Workers’ Lives


Ever since a convict discovered coal in Australia in the 1700s, mining was never the same again. Right now, the Land Down Under mines tonnes of it annually and exports over 85%. This also provides thousands of jobs. Coal, though, is not the safest material to deal with. It demands excellent coal health services.

The Growing Dangers of Coal Mining

One can never underestimate the importance of coal health services. This fossil fuel can affect miners and even their families in many ways.

Take, for example, deep or underground mining. These workers are at significant risk of:

  • Difficulty of breathing or even suffocation
  • Entrapment, especially during an earthquake
  • Roof collapse
  • Gas explosions

Surface mining, meanwhile, can still mean inhalation of dust and other small particles, exposure to UV rays, and chemical explosions.

If they live near coal mining townships, their families, particularly their children, can also experience exposure to a lesser degree. They can breathe in coal dust and chemicals, to name a few. Check Resile for more details.

Coal miners are specifically prone to a respiratory condition known as black lung. Also known as coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, it results in the long-term inhalation of mining dust.

Coal dust can enter the lungs, causing the organs to react, which can lead to inflammation. Chronic inflammation may eventually cause permanent scarring.

It is these scars that can severely affect respiration such as struggling to breathe. Worse, it raises the risks of other diseases including but not limited to:

  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)

COPD itself is a progressive disease with no known cure. Black lung is also associated with higher odds of developing lung cancer.

What Can Companies and Healthcare Facilities Do?

Despite the hazards of coal mining, it remains a legal industry. After all, the fossil fuel is an essential material for different applications. It ranges from steel manufacturing to electrical power generation.

However, companies need to work closely with a coal consultant occupational physician regularly to safeguard the workers’ health.

In Queensland, existing and potential coal miners need to undergo a mandatory test called QLD coal board medical. They can go to any of the recognised coal board medical locations, and their health professionals can perform the following:

  • X-ray
  • Skin exam
  • Muscle and joint test
  • Urinalysis
  • Abdomen exam

The doctor will also ask for the person’s medical history, and their assessment can be the basis for employment. Those who are already working in the mines still need to go through this every five years.

The state’s coal mine worker’s scheme regulates processes such as this routine testing. The purpose of it is to:

  • Determine the possible or the growing health problems among coal miners
  • Develop better policies to protect their health
  • Provide prompt treatment to avoid more severe long-term complications or health issues
  • Ensure companies remain compliant when it comes to the safety of their workplace and employees

Coal may not glitter like diamonds, but it allows societies to thrive. It is only right for those who benefit from it to protect those who mine it. Visit resile.com.au when looking for coal health services today.