1 September, 2020
Better protections kick in for mine and quarry workers
Free, mandatory lung health checks and slashed mine dust limits take effect this week
The mandatory health checks already in place for coal mine workers will extend to the state’s 15,000 metalliferous mine and quarry workers from today.
And coal and silica dust levels – responsible for black lung disease and silicosis – will also reduce from today.
Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the protections were the latest in a suite of reforms to protect the health and safety of the state’s resources workers.
“Every Queensland worker has the right to a healthy career and life free of occupational disease,” Dr Lynham said.
“And the most important resource to come off a mine site every day is a worker."
From today, the allowable limit for respirable coal dust is cut to 1.5 milligrams per cubic metre from 2.5 and from 1 to 0.05 milligrams per cubic metre for silica dust.
This follows a nationwide review by Safework Australia. Dr Lynham committed three years ago to adopt Safe Work Australia’s recommendations on workplace exposure standards.
As well, every metalliferous mine and quarry worker will have a chest X-ray that is read by at least two qualified radiologists as well as a lung function test.
This will happen when they start in the industry, at least once every five years during their career in the industry.
And after they leave the industry, they can continue to have free respiratory health checks for life, if they want to.
The measures provide mineral mine and quarry workers with the same health checks as their 37,000 coal mining counterparts who already have free mandatory respiratory health screening.