Dr Anthony Lynham


Queensland health expands surveillance of dust-related diseases

mine safety laws

29 November, 2018 –

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.

Once the register is established, occupational and respiratory specialists will 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.

This will enable health authorities to monitor emerging occupational lung diseases such as CWP and silicosis.

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.

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.

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.

Workers or family members seeking more information should call the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland hotline – 1300 362 128.

The State Government has consulted with key stakeholders, including clinical groups and unions, on the legislative changes.