PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Queensland government on Friday announced mandatory free health checks for life for the state’s 15 000 mineral mine and quarry workers, to protect them from mine dust lung diseases.
The free checks would apply from September 1.
“Every Queensland worker has the right to safe working conditions and peace of mind. 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,” said Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham.
Under the changes that take effect from September 1, every worker will have a chest X-ray that is read by at least two qualified radiologists as well as a lung function test.
This will happen when they start in the industry, and at least once every five years during their career in the industry. After they leave the industry, workers can continue to have free respiratory health checks for life, if required.
Lynham said that the measures provide mineral mine and quarry workers with the same health checks as their 37 000 coal mining counterparts who already have free mandatory respiratory health screening.
He said the free health checks were part of the expanding suite of reforms under the government to protect the health and safety of all mine and quarry workers.
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the state government’s commitment of lung health checks for mine workers, with CEO Ian Macfarlane saying the industry had a strong partnership with the government for health checks and industry welcomed the delivery of free health checks for retired metalliferous mine workers from September.
“QRC member companies already pay for the lung health checks of their mine workers and following negotiations with WorkCover and the government, we have secured free lung health checks for retired workers,” Macfarlane said.
“The testing is in the form of a chest X-ray that is read by at least two qualified radiologists as well as a lung function test. These testing arrangements are already in place for coal mine workers.”
The QRC joined the government in encouraging mine workers to alert friends and colleagues who may have left the industry to contact the mine dust health support service on 1300 445 715 to also access their free health checks.