A diagnosis of CWP or silicosis doesn’t mean the end of your career in mining. But it does mean the types of roles you can perform will change. It’s important to remember that with the right management and precautions, a case of simple CWP is not life-threatening.
Treatment and rehabilitation
There is no cure for CWP. Once respirable dust has been incorporated into the lung tissue, it can’t be removed. However, you can slow or stop the progress of the disease by limiting your exposure to respirable dust at work and at home.
Miners or ex-miners with CWP have access to public health services to obtain medical aids, equipment and treatment. Visiting specialists are available to assist people in regional areas who have shortness of breath associated with lung disease.
Find out more about treatment and management of CWP.
Returning to work after a CWP diagnosis
After spending a large part of your working life in mines, it’s natural to be concerned that a CWP diagnosis could exclude you from the industry in which you’ve developed years of job-specific skills.
A CWP diagnosis does mean that you will no longer be able to perform roles in environments with high dust levels. However, there are many roles available within the mining industry that are suitable for miners with CWP, including roles involving:
- surface mine operations
- underground mining operations with controlled dust exposure (e.g. as electricians)
- outbye tasks away from the coalface
- maintenance and infrastructure.
The Queensland Government and unions have committed to working with mining companies to retain CWP miners within the industry, and facilitate the movement of miners with CWP into these roles on a case-by-case basis.
Termination and reinstatement
If you are diagnosed with CWP, you cannot be terminated within 12 months of your diagnosis, just because you can’t work in your own job.
For more information, contact Workcover Queensland.
The physical and highly specialised role coal workers play in mining is traditionally rewarded with commensurate levels of pay. With simple CWP, it’s possible you may not be able to find a role that offers a similar pay rate, or if you have a case of complex CWP, you may no longer be able to work at all.
WorkCover Queensland has established a dedicated team to assess and manage CWP compensation claims. This specialised team will assist you during the claims process and make sure your claim is processed as quickly as possible.
If your claim is accepted, you may be entitled to:
- weekly compensation (for lost wages)
- medical, surgical and hospital expenses and medicines
- lump sum compensation for pneumoconiosis and for any permanent impairment
- rehabilitation treatment and equipment or services
- travelling expenses.
How to apply for compensation
The way you apply for CWP compensation depends on whether your employer is self-insured.
Some mining companies have chosen to self-insure for workers compensation, which means employees of these companies will make compensation claims directly, not through WorkCover. In Queensland, these companies are BHP Billiton Limited and Glencore Queensland Limited.
If your company is not self-insured, you need to contact WorkCover Queensland.
- BHP Billiton Queensland Workers Compensation: 1800 247 927
- Glencore Workers Compensation Unit (XtraCare): (07) 3833 8571
- WorkCover Queensland: 1300 362 128.
For help with this process, contact your union, or the Queensland Council of Unions Workers’ Compensation Information Service on 1800 102 166.