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.
They have not been counted in safety statistics or fatalities. Hence, there has been a growing focus on health in safety.
The increasing numbers of mine dust lung disease in Queensland has resulted in better health surveillance programs and preventative measures at mine sites.
The reduction of the Safe Work Australia respirable crystalline silica workplace exposure standard has also resulted in mining companies investing their money into dust controls and prevention of exposures.
The Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists has launched the Breathe Freely Australia website to make information on health surveillance and best practice in the prevention of dust exposures easy to read.
It is available to workers, mine managers and the general public.