Queensland workers, including coal workers and stonemasons, will have better workplace health and safety protections, thanks to recent changes made to the Public Health Act 2005 and Public Health Regulation 2018.
Pneumoconiosis, silicosis and other occupational dust diseases will now be recorded on the Queensland Health Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register.
Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Dr Anthony Lynham, commented that the health and safety of all Queenslanders is the government’s priority and that he is proud to see these new changes come into effect.
“We are now able to monitor dust lung diseases like silicosis and pneumoconiosis and identify any emerging workplace health issues,” he said.
“The register also will allow us to capture incidences of other dust lung diseases from working environments where workers are exposed to inorganic dust.”
Minister for Industrial Relations, Grace Grace, said the reforms displayed the Government’s commitment to the health and safety of workers.
“The Palaszczuk Government has worked with industry, unions and the medical profession, and has made extensive reforms to help prevent and identify mine dust lung disease, including coal worker pneumoconiosis (CWP), and to care for affected workers and their families,” Ms Grace said.
“This includes the 2017 changes to the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act that gave effect to the recommendations of the CWP Parliamentary Select Committee.”
“We are also leading the way nationally in responding to and addressing silicosis in the engineered stone industry,” she commented.
“Every Queensland worker has the right to safe working conditions.”
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Steven Miles, encouraged all current and former mine workers and stonemasons to undertake a health screening.
“If you have been affected by exposure to dust during your work, please get yourself checked out,” the Minister said.
“Early detection of some dust-lung conditions may make the difference between life and death for patients.”
“Meanwhile, these reforms will ensure we have the best data at our disposal, so we can begin to identify cases of dust-related lung diseases early.”
Under the new changes, doctors who are specialists in occupational and respiratory medicine are now required to report cases of occupational dust lung diseases to the Queensland Health Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register.
Workers or family members seeking more information about health screening should call the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland hotline – 1300 362 128.