Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham Friday, December 16, 2016
A suite of health and safety reforms will become law on 1 January to protect Queensland coal miners from black lung disease.
Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham said coal health and safety laws would see dust levels made public, compulsory health checks for underground and above-ground miners and compulsory reporting of black lung cases to government.
“These regulatory changes are a critical element of our commitment to detect and prevent all forms of coal mine dust lung disease – including coal workers’ pneumoconiosis,” Dr Lynham said.
“This is a disease that does not belong in the 21st century and I am determined to continue to work with industry, unions and doctors to protect our coal miners.”
Under the new regulations:
The tougher regulations are part of the three-pronged approach announced in July to:
“Following the introduction of the dual reading screening system in July 2016, more than 2,000 coal mine worker chest x-rays have been read first by an Australian radiologist, and then sent to be read by US-based National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health approved readers.
“This system ensures every worker’s chest x-ray is examined independently by at least two medical experts.
“I encourage any mine worker – past or present – who has concerns about their respiratory health to see their doctor,” Dr Lynham said.
Eighteen Queensland miners have been diagnosed with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, which is caused by long-term exposure to respirable coal dust.