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Mineral mines and quarries respiratory health surveillance

Queensland mineral mine and quarry workers may be exposed to a broad spectrum of respiratory hazards such as dusts (e.g. silica), welding fumes and diesel particulates.

Occupational exposure to respiratory hazards can lead to a range of lung diseases. These include forms of pneumoconioses (e.g. silicosis and siderosis), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (e.g. chronic bronchitis and emphysema) and lung cancer.

New requirement for medicals

Amendments to the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Regulation 2017 that commence on 1 September 2020 will ensure that Queensland mineral mine and quarry workers undertake periodic medicals to identify any changes in lung function or the early signs of lung disease.

The changes will require:

  • respiratory health surveillance for workers prior to commencing work in the mineral mine and quarry industry and then at least once every 5 years
  • medical examinations to be consistent with best practice respiratory screening including spirometry and chest X-ray dual-read to the international standard
  • follow-up investigation of abnormal results
  • access to free screening for retired and former workers.

Read more about the changes which are detailed in:

Responsibility

The Site Senior Executive is responsible for ensuring respiratory health surveillance is implemented which must be paid by the employer.

Transition timeframe

Mineral mine and quarry operators have until 1 September 2022 to transition their systems and processes and ensure that their workers have undergone a respiratory health surveillance medical.

Further information will be provided to assist with implementation closer to commencement.

Also consider…

Contact

Contact the Health Surveillance Unit