Workers with health issues

Visit Miners' Health Matters to find out more about coal mine dust lung diseases and support for affected workers. You can also order copies of our free pocket guides for coal mine workers.

The Coal Mine Workers' Health Scheme (CMWHS) Clinical pathways guideline (PDF, 456KB) lays out the recommended processes for follow-up investigations and referrals resulting from regular screening and, if appropriate, reaching a confirmed diagnosis.

Depending on the type of health problem, the appointed medical adviser (AMA) may place some restrictions on a worker to minimise their risk (and risk to others) and prevent further injury or illness. Restrictions are detailed in section 4 of the approved health assessment form and are explained to the worker by the AMA when the approved form is completed.

Restrictions do not necessarily preclude the worker from working, if they are still able to undertake the job safely. However, it is up to employers to determine whether these restrictions can be accommodated.

Right to additional health assessments

Workers have the right to undergo a second health assessment if a health assessment report about a coal mine worker shows that the worker is unable to carry out the worker's tasks at the mine without creating an unacceptable level of risk.

The employer must give the worker a reasonable opportunity to undergo a further health assessment from an approved supervising doctor registered with the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) or relevant medical specialist chosen by the worker before the employer takes action to terminate or demote the worker. The worker must give the second health assessment to the employer. When the employer receives the second health assessment, they should forward it to their AMA, who will review it and report back to the employer and the worker. The worker is responsible for the costs of the second health assessment.

The option of a second health assessment or examination does not apply to job seekers who have not yet been employed or to exit assessments.

Sometimes an original and a second health assessment report disagree. If the differences between the 2 reports cannot be resolved, the worker or the employer can, within 28 days of being given a review report, refer the matter to the Chief Executive of DNRME.

The Chief Executive will then appoint a medical specialist to review the conflicting health assessment reports and if necessary re-assess the worker. The appointed medical specialist's decision will be final. The cost of the review will be met by DNRME (section 48A of the Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2017.

Contact

Contact the Health Surveillance Unit