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Queensland Government starts mandatory lung health checks, silica dust limits


Lung health checks and harsher dust limits for quarries and mines have taken effect in Queensland to prevent industry-specific diseases such as respirable crystalline silica.

The free mandatory lung health checks will now be extended from the state’s coal mine workers to its other 15,000 metalliferous mine and quarry workers.

The Queensland Government has also enacted revised levels for dust emissions which can lead to black lung disease, respirable crystalline silica (RCS) and silicosis.

The allowable limit for silica dust has been cut to 0.05 milligrams per cubic metre (mg/m3) from 1 mg/m3, and 1.5 mg/m3 of respirable coal dust from 2.5 mg/m3.

Queensland Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynam said these were part of a suite of reforms to protect the state’s resources workforce.

“Every Queensland worker has the right to a healthy career and life free of occupational disease,” he said.

“And the most important resource to come off a mine site every day is a worker.

“Queensland now has the toughest mine safety and health laws in the world – including the offence of industrial manslaughter.

“And our resources workers make a massive contribution to Queensland’s economy, particularly through the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we recover.”

Each of Queensland’s metalliferous mine and quarry workers will be given a chest X-ray that is read by at least two qualified radiologists under the free mandatory lung health checks.

These will be conducted at least once every five years from when a resources worker begins their career in the industry.

The state government has confirmed they can continue to have health check-ups after they have left the industry.

More information about RCS is available from the IQA website:

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