QLD mine workers to receive compulsory lung screening

Queensland has extended its free lung health checks to all of the state’s mine and quarry workers.

From September 1, mandatory testing for lung-related diseases will be carried out for Queensland’s 15,000 mineral mine and quarry workers free of charge.

Free mandatory lung testing was previously only available to the state’s 37,000 coal miners.

The tests are designed to detect early signs of mine dust lung diseases such as silicosis.

Workers are required to have a chest X-ray, which will be analysed by radiologists along with a lung function test.

Testing will occur when a worker starts in the industry, followed by a consecutive test at least once every five years.

Retired mine and quarry workers are also eligible for free lung health checks for life.

“Every Queensland worker has the right to safe working conditions and peace of mind,” Queensland Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said.

“As a doctor I know that hand-in-hand with disease prevention goes early detection, because it helps stop disease progressing.

“And mandatory screening is critical for early detection.”

Member of Townsville Scott Stewart said the screening will be valuable to the industry.

“Our mine workers make a massive contribution to Queensland’s economy, and [this was shown] particularly through the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“I know workers, and their families, will welcome these extra measures to protect their health on top of the many safety reforms the Palaszczuk Government has put in place.”

The Queensland Government has introduced a range of measures to improve mine and quarry worker safety, including the introduction of a mobile health service truck which will hit the road later this year.

Other reforms include a confidential mine dust health support hotline (1300 445 715) to provide current and former industry workers with access to health and safety information.

The Queensland Parliament also passed the industrial manslaughter reforms in May, which puts Queensland’s mining and quarry executives responsible for the deaths of employees at the risk of facing up to 20 years in jail if they are found to have been negligent.