How the retired and former worker assessment works
From 1 March 2019, retired and former coal mine, mineral mine and quarry workers (former workers) are eligible for an assessment consisting of a respiratory function examination and a chest X-ray examination.
Former workers can qualify for a free assessment if all of the following apply:
- You were a coal mine, mineral mine or quarry worker for at least 3 years in total over your lifetime, with at least 6 months of this work experience in Queensland.
- You have now permanently stopped being a coal mine, mineral mine or quarry worker.
- It has been at least 5 years since your most recent assessment. (Note: Your most recent assessment can be less than 5 years ago if a doctor has recommended a sooner assessment, as shown in your last health assessment record or a medical certificate.)
Former worker assessment process
If you qualify for a former worker assessment, Resources Safety & Health Queensland (RSHQ) will arrange and pay for the assessment.
You can apply for an assessment using the former worker assessment application form (PDF, 803KB). Send the completed form to FormerWorker@rshq.qld.gov.au.
Only approved providers on RSHQ's register of doctors and medical providers will be used to carry out the assessment, provide spirometry and take or examine chest X-rays.
When travelling to and from your appointment(s) as part of your assessment, RSHQ can help with travel expenses, in accordance with the Travel expenses policy (PDF, 283KB). Travel expense reimbursements can be made by completing the Travel expense claim form (PDF, 245KB). For more information on the Travel expenses policy, contact the Health Surveillance Unit on (07) 3818 5420.
For former coal mine workers, the assessment will be completed using the approved former worker assessment form in accordance with section 49F of the Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2017. A similar form is used for former mineral mine and quarry workers.
For more information about former worker assessments, and for help completing the application form, contact the Health Surveillance Unit by phoning (07) 3818 5420 or email to FormerWorker@rshq.qld.gov.au.
Chest X-ray examination
Former worker assessments include a chest X-ray to detect mine dust lung diseases such as coal workers' pneumoconiosis and silicosis. Images are dual-read by B-readers who are accredited by the United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
If the chest X-ray examination identified abnormalities, the supervising doctor is required to follow the Mine dust lung disease clinical pathways guideline (PDF, 789KB) for follow-up investigations and referral to appropriate medical specialists.
RSHQ will send a sample of chest X-rays and ILO Classification reports to US-based B-readers for audit as part of the ongoing quality assurance program as recommended by the Monash University review.
- Read more about the Two-reader process for chest X-rays (PDF, 265KB).
Record keeping and reporting requirements
When the former worker assessment is complete, the supervising doctor sends:
- the completed former worker assessment form and all associated medical reports to RSHQ (Health Surveillance Unit). (Note: Supervising doctors are no longer required to lodge the chest X-ray image with the completed health assessment to RSHQ if the final dual-read ILO report was issued by Lungscreen. This new arrangement also applies if the final ILO report was issued by University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and that report was facilitated through RSHQ. However, RSHQ may request the supervising doctor to provide a copy of the image in certain instances), and
- a copy of the former worker assessment report (section 3 of the form) to the former worker.
The supervising doctor must keep the data on which the assessment was based and a copy of the approved form that was completed for the assessment.