Under a new scheme in Queensland reporting and surveillance of dust diseases will become mandatory.
Doctors will be required to notify Queensland Health of dust lung diseases such as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis and silicosis under legislation introduced in State Parliament.
As part of the Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018, the Public Health Act 2005 will be amended to create a Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register to record cases of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, silicosis and other lung conditions caused by occupational exposure to inorganic dust.
Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said once the register was established, occupational and respiratory specialists would be required to notify Queensland Health when they diagnose patients with specific dust lung diseases.
“This new register has been proposed to capture incidences of lung diseases from all working environments in which employees are exposed to inorganic dust,” he said.
“This will enable health authorities to monitor emerging occupational lung diseases such as CWP and silicosis,’’ Dr Lynham said.
“We are totally committed to the safety and welfare of mine workers. Last September, the Palaszczuk Government announced $25 million over two years to deliver more reforms.
“A number of other operational activities also are in train—for example, the coal mining inspectorate has focussed regulatory activity on the control and monitoring of respirable dust,’’ Dr Lynham said.
Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace said last month, the Queensland Government issued an urgent health warning about the serious risk of exposure to silica dust in the engineered stone benchtop fabrication industry.
“The health and safety of Queenslanders is our priority,” she said.
“We believe this is foremost a workplace health and safety issue that requires a nationally coordinated response.
“All current and former workers in the stonemason industry are advised to undergo health screening to determine if they have been affected by exposure to silica dust.”
Surveillance of dust disease is a positive move for Queensland workers and represents a commitment to eradicate the debilitating condition.
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