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NUM Loses Coal Mine Surface Dust Fight

091808025102_coal mine hat & dust1The National Union of Mineworkers has ended its legal battle for justice for mine workers who suffered lung disease as a result of working at the surface of coal mines.  The NUM cites the horrendous and dusty conditions in surface washeries, screens and coal preparation plants as the suspected cause of so many surface workers becoming ill.

There was insufficient evidence that surface workers suffered the same as underground workers did because the NCB, and later British Coal, were not required under the Mines and Quarries Act to check and maintain records of dust levels at the mines’ surface, unlike underground where measurements of dust levels had to be recorded by law.

There are strong parallels with this and the struggle in South Lanarkshire to recognise the link between open cast coal mining and community ill health. The village of Douglas in South Lanarkshire has suffered two decades of exposure to open cast dust and is currently surrounded by 5 open cast coal mines. The community has alarmingly high rates of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, certain cancers and asthma (see the Coal Health Study). Due to a lack of adequate dust monitoring, and therefore evidence, mining companies and councils can get away with denying any link between open cast mining and ill heath and continue to impose dangerous developments on communities.

Whether its for a near-by community or a mine worker, justice must be sought for those who suffer at the negligence of these profiteering coal mining companies

Original NUM article:


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