More mine and quarry workers to get lungs checked
Queensland’s 15,000 mineral mine and quarry workers will now have mandatory lung health checks before and during their careers.
Under the Mining Safety and Health Legislation (Health Surveillance) Amendment Regulation 2020, from 1 September 2020, screening for the early detection and prevention of mine dust lung diseases including silicosis will be mandatory.
With the change, mineral mine and quarry workers will be afforded the same reassurance as their coal mining counterparts who already have free mandatory respiratory health screening.
Each worker will have a chest X-ray that is read by at least two qualified radiologists and a lung function test, on entry into the industry and at least once every five years while in the industry.
After leaving the industry, workers will continue to have quality respiratory health checks for life – if they desire it – at no cost to them.
The Department has been notified of 43 cases of confirmed mine dust lung disease among current and former Queensland mineral mine and quarry workers.
Mandatory screening is vital in helping prevent the progression of lung diseases including silicosis.
Under Queensland law, mineral mines and quarries must ensure their workers are educated on the potential risk of dust and silica exposure, as well as the relevant control measures that prevent or minimise exposure.
Silica is 20 times more toxic than coal dust, and ensuring workers have access to routine respiratory health checks will be another way to help keep them safe.
Under the amendment, Queensland mineral mines and quarries will be required to provide employer-funded respiratory health checks to all workers at risk of respiratory hazards.
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Last updated 26 June 2020