Working in a mine, there are many hazards that you will face. One of the risks is that you may suffer from mine-related respiratory illnesses. Miners are at risk of developing pneumoconiosis, which is caused by regular exposure to respirable dust.
Normally, it is miners who have worked at least five years in the industry who are at the greatest risk, especially with regular exposure to diesel fumes.
What is pneumoconiosis?
Pneumoconiosis is also known as dusty lung, silicosis and black lung. Black lung is a different form of pneumoconiosis than silicosis, but they both fall into this category of lung disease.
Coal miner’s pneumoconiosis, abbreviated CWP, is always associated with coal mining. On the other hand, silicosis may affect workers in coal mines, quarries and other types of mines.
Can you get treatment for pneumoconiosis?
Medical treatment is available for pneumoconiosis, but you should know that there is no way to cure the disease once it takes hold. The only way to avoid the disease completely is by controlling respirable dust exposure.
How common is pneumoconiosis?
Between 2007 and 2016, CWP led to the deaths of 4,118 miners, both as an underlying condition or a contributing cause of death. So far, over $47,168,000,000 has been paid out to miners and their families from federal sources. These claims were paid under the Black Lung Benefits Act.
Those with silicosis will find that it’s not tracked as well as CWP. However, over 23% of deaths related to silicosis were linked to the mining industry.
What is being done to stop silicosis and pneumoconiosis from affecting workers today?
Today, there are ongoing research efforts looking at airborne toxins and contaminants. These studies investigate the best ways to minimize exposure in mines as well as how to adjust current mining practices to reduce the risk of exposure. Advanced engine types, like electric engines, are also being studied for use in place of diesel engines.
For those who already have developed one of these diseases, it’s important to know that there is help available. Financial support is possible, and medical treatments may help minimize your symptoms.