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:
- Mining Safety and Health Legislation (Health Surveillance) Amendment Regulation 2020 and explanatory note.
The Site Senior Executive is responsible for ensuring respiratory health surveillance is implemented which must be paid by the employer.
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.
- Find out more about the regulatory changes.
- Visit the Miners’ Health Matters website to view educational videos and for further information about types of disease, exposure controls, health surveillance and support for workers.
- Contact the Mine Dust Health Support Service to access free screening for retired or former workers.
- Last reviewed: 26 Jun 2020
- Last updated: 26 Jun 2020