Queensland workers, including coal workers and stonemasons, will have better workplace health and safety protections, thanks to changes made by the Palaszczuk Government to the Public Health Act 2005 and Public Health Regulation 2018.
Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said pneumoconiosis, silicosis and other occupational dust diseases would now be recorded on the Queensland Health Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register.
“The health and safety of all Queenslanders is our priority, and I’m proud to see these new changes come into effect,” Dr Lynham said.
“We are now able to monitor dust lung disease like silicosis and pneumoconiosis and identify any emerging workplace health issues.
“The register also will allow us to capture incidences of other dust lung diseases from working environments where workers are exposed to inorganic dust.
“Last September we announced $25 million over two years to deliver more reforms to protect coal workers’ health and safety.
“We will continue to deliver on our commitment to coal workers across Queensland.”
Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace said the reforms were further evidence of the Palaszczuk 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.
“Every Queensland worker has the right to safe working conditions.
“The Queensland Health Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register provides a further layer of protection for workers and will provide government with important data on work related occupational lung disease.”
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said all current and former mine workers and stonemasons were encouraged to undertake a health screening.
“If you have been affected by exposure to dust during your work, please get yourself checked out,” Mr Miles 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 required to report cases of occupational dust lung diseases to the Queensland Health Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register from 1 July 2019.