Western Australia has changed its regulations for diagnosing respirable crystalline silica, requiring employers to provide workers with a computed tomography scan instead of the conventional chest X-ray.
This makes Western Australia the first state in Australia to require a low-dose high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scan to better protect workers exposed to silica.
The Western Australian Government described HRCT as “more effective scans” than chest X-rays.
Employers will also need to be supervised by an appointed medical practitioner when providing the HRCT scan.
Western Australia’s Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston said the amendment to workplace safety laws would assist in the early detection or prevention of silicosis.
“There has been much concern about the number of silicosis cases in the eastern states and, although we have seen relatively few cases in (Western Australia), it’s appropriate we take action to minimise the risks for workers,” he said.
The change will be applied to the Occupational Safety and Health Regulation 1996.
Employers have a three-month grace period to provide the HRCT scan starting mid-January.