ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- A workplace-health consulting firm has been hired to study efforts to reduce the risk of silicosis among workers at iron ore mines in western Labrador.

Silicosis is a lung disease related to the exposure of silica dust.

The provincial government says it has hired Toronto-based Morneau Shepell to study ongoing health monitoring programs at the Iron Ore Company of Canada in Labrador City and nearby Wabush Mines.

Radiologists will also review chest X-rays from current and former mine workers who volunteer for the two-year audit.

A report will be completed during the second year of the audit and make any necessary recommendations.