The Queensland Government has invested $5 million into researching and providing treatment for lung diseases common with mine workers.
Lung diseases including silicosis and coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (black lung) will be included in the research, which will take place from 2021 to 2023.
According to Queensland Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace, lung diseases are a life-threatening issue faced by the industry.
“Every worker should be able to come home safely from work every day to family and friends,” she said.
“These lung diseases are preventable and have limited treatment options, particularly where a worker has advanced disease.
“That’s why we committed at the election to fund research: to help prevent these diseases, to pick them up earlier in affected workers, and to find more and better effective treatments for affected workers.”
WorkSafe Queensland stated the research will help identify factors that determine disease severity and risk of disease progression, the efficacy and sensitivity of methods used to diagnose lung-disease patients, and understanding the development of the diseases.
The funding will be provided to researchers in the form of grants, with expressions of interest open at QTenders until June 14.
Applications will be assessed by health, safety, medical and research experts with successful applicants announced in August.
“Occupational dust lung disease profoundly impacts the lives of affected workers and their families, and is a public health issue because there are limited proven treatment options,” Worksafe Queensland stated.
“There is also a need to build a greater understanding of the disease pathway—from the risks of exposure, the type of dust causing the most harm and further investigation of treatment options.”