For many years the focus was on safety at mine sites with prevention of injuries and fatalities. Now there is growing awareness that long term health issues such as lung damage from dust has gone under the radar.
In a sweeping reform to combat and prevent lung health diseases among Queensland’s mine workers, the state government will send a health truck across the regions this year.
A worker with around 41 years of coal mining experience has been diagnosed with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.
The NSW Mine Safety Advisory Council is hoping to eradicate the threat of dust for mine and quarry workers, as well as workers in other workplace environments, through a new awareness campaign.
Queensland has extended its free lung health checks to all of the state’s mine and quarry workers.
The Queensland Government has awarded a contract to build and operate a mobile health service to Heart of Australia in a bid to bring lung health checks to regional mine workers.
Bat Booth 2.0 uses temperature checks to help protect workers from viral infections and heat stress, while reducing the risk of dust diseases such as coal workers pneumoconiosis, silicosis and farmer’s lung.
Queensland and New South Wales have introduced new initiatives to reduce silicosis cases in the states.
Several New South Wales mines and petroleum sites are ruled out of the new respirable crystalline silica exposure standard due to a class exemption by Safe Work.
Work health and safety ministers have agreed to reduce the workplace exposure standards for respirable crystalline silica as soon as practicable.
RST operations and technical director David Handel explains how mining can tackle the silicosis crisis with effective and cost-efficient dust management solutions.
Queensland is committed to matching Safe Work Australia’s recommended standards for dust exposure, due for release before the year ends.
WorkCover Queensland has engaged Monash University and the University of Illinois to research best practices that support workers diagnosed with silicosis.
The Queensland Government has introduced Australia’s first dust-related disease register in an effort to provide better workplace health and safety protection to workers.
The Queensland Government is focusing on mine safety and protection of the Great Barrier Reef in its natural resources, mines and energy budget this year.
Safe Work Australia is expected to recommend that the regulated occupational exposure limits for respirable dust be slashed.
Dust particles may be small, but they can cause big problems for the health and safety of workers at mines, quarries, landfills, ports, and in construction and demolition. Engineering controls and education are needed to make sure workers stay safe.
Miners suffer from an increased decline in lung function every year compared to the general population, despite measured concentrates of dust and gases such as silica and diesel exhaust at below occupational standards.
There’s a way to avoid being harmed by mine dust including crystalline silica on the east coast and asbestos fibres on the west coast. Breathesafe director Nicholas Johnstone tells Safe to Work about the solution.
A dust diseases clinic is now open on Pitt Street to provide medical access for NSW workers impacted by exposure to hazardous materials such as asbestos and silica.