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‘One-stop shop’ hotline to assist extractive workers

 

The Queensland Government has introduced a new mine dust health service hotline for current and former quarrying and mine workers suffering from lung disease.

Quarrying and mine workers now have access to a new lung disease hotline announced by the Queensland Government.

The Mine Dust Health Support Service hotline – 1300 445 715 – will be available to the public from 2 March. Both current and former workers from quarries and mines are expected to receive faster access to vital services with the new phoneline.

“Easy access to accurate workplace health information and free services is essential for concerned and affected workers and their families,” said Assistant State Development Minister and Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert.

“My constituents, both past or current mine workers, tell me it can be a challenge to navigate various public and private sector organisations to find information and services.

“The one-stop shop will provide them expert advice and support on navigating the system – from pre-health screening to accessing post workers’ compensation claim support services and everything in between.”

The hotline is also open to the families of workers and doctors seeking screening and diagnosis information.

“The Government introduced laws in 2017 that deliver stronger workers’ compensation protections for Queenslanders suffering from black lung or other forms of dust lung disease,” said Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke.

“For those who have developed these insidious diseases through their work, support is available. The Palaszczuk Government has ensured simpler, faster workers comp claims and extra lump sum payments for people with black lung or silicosis.”

Respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is a major health concern for quarry workers.

The Palaszczuk Government has also supported mine and quarry workers through statewide safety reset sessions along with increasing maximum penalties for offences to $4 million and powers for the regulator to issue fines without going to court.

This follows new regulations and exposure standards for dust control across the country.

The New South Wales Resources Regulator recently added dust management to every health and safety inspection at NSW quarries to discourage an over-reliance on personal protective equipment.

The IQA will also this year be introducing workshops on RCS to Institute members and other industry professionals. This follows a 50 per cent reduction in the workplace exposure standard for RCS approved by Australia’s work health and safety ministers in December 2019 – from 0.1mg/m3 to 0.05mg/m3.

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