Dust Disease Solicitors - Mining Compensation Claim Solicitors

LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 090

Our dust disease solicitors have many years experience in handling injury compensation claims throughout Australia. If you are suffering from a dust disease or have lost a loved one as a result of a dust disease, we can advise you of your rights to compensation.

Time limits apply when making compensation claims, so you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Call our helpline, complete our Contact Form or send an email to receive legal assistance.

Miners and Dust Diseases

It was recognised many years ago that workers in the mining industry have higher levels of respiratory disease than the general population. Miners, drillers, tunnelers, mobile rig drill operators and diggers are all at risk of developing a dust disease due to exposure to dust particles which can contain asbestos, silica, coal and other minerals and metals.

Inhaled particles of dust, reach the terminal airways of the lungs and alveoli, and settle in the epithelial lining of the lungs. The dust particles may cause an inflammatory reaction within the lung. Miners can get any or all of chronic bronchitis, COPD, pneumoconiosis and various other specific dust diseases.

Many dust diseases start out without any symptoms. As the disease progresses, symptoms may be felt such as a persistent cough and shortness of breath. Chest radio-graphs are the cornerstone of surveillance for dust diseases in the workplace. Computed tomography (CT) and high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) are able to characterise lung and pleural lesions, as to their extent and confluence, with remarkable precision and are considerably more sensitive than the conventional chest x-rays.

There is no cure for a dust disease. Treatment depends on the nature of the condition and often involves medication to manage symptoms.

Types of Dust Diseases

There are numerous illnesses and diseases that are caused or exacerbated by exposure to dust including :

  • Asbestosis
  • Asbestos induced carcinoma
  • Asbestos related pleural disease
  • Pneumoconiosis
  • Silicosis
  • Progressive massive fibrosis
  • Silico-tuberculosis
  • Caplan's syndrome
  • Mesothelioma
  • Bauxite worker's lung
  • Shaver's disease
  • Berylliosis
  • Beryllium granulomatosis
  • Baritosis
  • Stannosis
  • Talcosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Lung cancer

Causes of Dust Diseases

    Coal :- Mining of coal, in particular hard coal, can lead to exposure of coal dust. This can cause simple pneumoconiosis, progressive massive fibrosis, and caplan's syndrome.

    Silica:- Sandblasting, stone cutting, and hard rock mining are occupations which can result in exposure to silica dust. This can cause silicosis and caplan's syndrome.

    Asbestos:- Miners can be exposed to asbestos which can cause conditions such as asbestosis, benign asbestos-related pleural disease, mesothelioma and lung cancer.

    Beryllium:- Exposure to minerals containing beryllium can cause acute berylliosis or beryllium granulomatosis.

    Barium sulphate:- Exposure to barium sulphate can cause baritosis.

    Tin oxide:- Exposure to tin oxide during mining can cause stannosis.

    Aluminium: Exposure to aluminium during mining can cause bauxite worker's lung, Shaver's disease.


Coal worker's pneumoconiosis (also known as 'Black Lung') is a disease caused by breathing in coal dust or graphite. The higher the carbon content of the coal, the greater the risk of pneumoconiosis. Coal miners have the most obvious risk of inhaling hazardous amounts of dust, depending on how effective the mine ventilation is and its method of suppression of dust.

The risk of contracting Black Lung is higher when working in underground mines compared with open cast mines. Miners who are exposed to residual dust from burned coal known as 'fly ash' are also at risk of developing CWP.

There are also other types of pneumoconioses that can develop as a result of exposure to asbestos, silica, and minerals such as talc, mica, kaolin, and metals such as beryllium, cobalt, chromium, and cadmium.

Black Lung Symptoms

Simple pneumoconiosis does not usually cause symptoms. However, if a person has a pre-existing airway disease such as bronchitis or emphysema, pneumoconiosis can cause the person to feel short of breath and to cough often. Smokers with coal workers' pneumoconiosis are more likely to have symptoms.

If simple pneumoconiosis does progress to cause fibrosis in the lungs, the person will start to feel symptoms such as breathlessness and a persistent cough. A more serious form of the disease is known as pulmonary massive fibrosis which causes large scars to develop in the lungs. This scarring can cause permanent damage to lung tissue and blood vessels.

Prevalence of progressive massive fibrosis after a working lifetime of exposure to coal dust in underground miners is estimated to be between 1.3 and 2.9 % in Australia.

Pneumoconiosis Diagnosis

Coal dust spreads throughout the lungs and shows up in x-rays as tiny spots. Diagnosis of pneumoconiosis is usually made after noting these characteristic spots on lung x-rays and CT scans. The patient history usually reveals that they have worked in a coal mine or otherwise been exposed to coal dust for at least 5 years. Latency between exposure and diagnosis is usually 10 or more years.

Pneumoconiosis Treatment

Treatment for both simple coal miners pneumoconiosis and complicated coal worker's pneumoconiosis is symptomatic. Use oxygen as hypoxaemia demands.

Prevention is crucial because there is no cure for coal workers' pneumoconiosis. The disorder can be prevented by adequately suppressing coal dust at the work site. Ventilation systems may help. Face masks that filter and purify the air may provide limited protection.

Doctors usually recommend that coal workers have chest x-rays every year, so that the disease can be detected as early as possible. If the disease is detected, the worker should be transferred to an area where coal dust levels are low to help prevent progressive massive fibrosis.

No Win No Fee Solicitors

Legal advice is available by calling our helpline or by completing the on-line contact form. Legal representation is also available on No Win No Fee basis. This means that there are no up front or ongoing costs and if you do not win your case, you do not have to pay your lawyer's fees.

LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 090