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Queensland is committed to matching Safe Work Australia’s recommended standards for dust exposure, due for release before the year ends.
Safe Work is proposing the occupational exposure limit for respirable coal dust be reduced by 40 per cent. This will drop the limit from 2.5 milligrams to 1.5 milligrams per cubic metre.
The Queensland Government announced its support on the eve of the state’s memorial day for mine victims, which marked Queensland’s worst mine disaster in 1921 when 75 miners died at Mount Mulligan in Far North Queensland.
“The simplest way to prevent occupational lung diseases like black lung is to protect our miners from mine dust through the effective use of engineering controls,” Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said.
“As Queenslanders gather at Moura for Miners’ Memorial Day, they have an assurance that this government will support the lower workplace exposure standards that Safe Work Australia recommends.”
This commitment is the latest in a suite of reforms to mine worker health and safety over the past three years.
These include compulsory chest x-rays and special standards for medical professionals doing mine worker health checks and the Queensland Government introducing legislation for a new independent resources safety and health regulator.
The state government has also mandated worksite safety reset sessions state-wide and flagged the possible addition of industrial manslaughter as an offence.
The news coincided with the Queensland Government’s introduction of Australia’s first code of practice for the stone benchtop industry to eradicate silicosis.