Queensland workers, including coal workers and stonemasons, will have better workplace health and safety protections thanks to recent changes to the Public Health Act 2005 and a new Regulation providing a legislative framework for a notifiable dust lung disease register.
Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said pneumoconiosis, silicosis and other occupational dust diseases would now be recorded on the Queensland Health Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register.
Under the new requirements, if occupational dust lung disease is detected, a General Practitioner can refer patients to a respiratory or occupational medicine specialist. If this specialist makes a diagnosis of a notifiable dust lung disease caused by occupational exposure to inorganic dust, they will make a notification to the Queensland Health notifiable dust lung disease register (NDLD register).
Diseases that must be notified to the NDLD register are:
- cancer (caused by occupational exposure to inorganic dust)
- chronic obtrusive pulmonary disease including bronchitis and emphysema
- pneumoconiosis including:
- coal workers’ pneumoconiosis
- mixed-dust pneumoconiosis
Examples of inorganic dust include dust from silica, coal, asbestos, natural stone, tungsten, cobalt, aluminium and beryllium.
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Minister Lynham said “The health and safety of all Queenslanders is our priority, and I’m proud to see these new changes come into effect”
“We are now able to monitor dust lung diseases like silicosis and pneumoconiosis and identify any emerging workplace health issues.
“The register also will allow us to capture incidences of other dust lung diseases from working environments where workers are exposed to inorganic dust.
“Last September we announced $25 million over two years to deliver more reforms to protect coal workers’ health and safety.
“We will continue to deliver on our commitment to coal workers across Queensland.”
Under the new changes, doctors who are specialists in occupational and respiratory medicine are required to report cases of occupational dust lung diseases to the Queensland Health Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register from 1 July 2019.
Workers or family members seeking more information about health screening should call the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland hotline – 1300 362 128.
Further information is available here
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