SAFETY FIRST: CQ's past and present miners and quarry workers will soon be offered free lung health checks.
SAFETY FIRST: CQ's past and present miners and quarry workers will soon be offered free lung health checks.

How CQ mine and quarry workers can get a free health check

THE Queensland Government has unveiled a new lifesaving initiative following the deaths of several Queensland mine and quarry workers in recent times.

Past and present Central Queensland mineral mine and quarry workers will soon be given access to free lung health checks for life, protecting them from mine dust lung diseases like silicosis.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said the mandatory free checks would apply from September 1.

"Every Queensland worker has the right to safe working conditions and peace of mind," Ms Lauga said.

"And mandatory screening is critical for early detection."

She acknowledged CQ mine workers' massive contribution to Queensland's economy, particularly through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga is supporter of the resource industry and initiatives to ensure the safety of miners.
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga is supporter of the resource industry and initiatives to ensure the safety of miners.

Ms Lauga urged mine workers to alert friends and colleagues who may have left the industry to access their free health checks.

Under the changes that take effect from the start of September, every worker will have a chest X-ray that is read by at least two qualified radiologists as well as a lung function test.

This will happen when they start in the industry, and at least once every five years during their career in the industry.

After they leave the industry, Ms Lauga said they could continue to have free respiratory health checks for life, if they wanted.

The measures provide mineral mine and quarry workers with the same health checks as their 37,000 coal mining counterparts who already have free mandatory respiratory health screening.

The Queensland Resources Council welcomed the State Government's commitment of lung health checks for mine workers.

QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said the industry had a strong partnership with the government for health checks and industry welcomed the delivery of free health checks for retired metalliferous mine workers from the start of September.

QRC chief Ian Macfarlane has welcome the Queensland Government’s plan to provide free lung health checks. (AAP image, John Gass)
QRC chief Ian Macfarlane has welcome the Queensland Government’s plan to provide free lung health checks. (AAP image, John Gass)

"QRC member companies already pay for the lung health checks of their mine workers and following negotiations with WorkCover and the Government, we have secured free lung health checks for retired workers," Mr Macfarlane said.

"The testing is in the form a chest X-ray that is read by at least two qualified radiologists as well as a lung function test.

"These testing arrangements are already in place for coal mine workers."

Mr Macfarlane said QRC joined the government in encouraging mine workers to alert friends and colleagues who may have left the industry to contact the mine dust health support service on 1300 445 715 to also access their free health checks.

 

The Queensland Government's latest reforms for the industry include:

• A mobile health service, scheduled to start by the end of 2020, that will provide lung health checks to past and present regional mine and quarry workers across the state.

• A confidential mine dust health support service (1300 445 715) that helps current and former mine workers access the information and services they need.

• Voluntary access to the health checks for retired or former coal, mineral mine and quarry workers.

• Creating industrial manslaughter as an offence, with executives facing up to 20 years' jail if Queensland mine and quarry workers die because of their criminal negligence.

• $35 million to deliver reforms to improve the safety and health of mine workers.

• Increased maximum penalties for offences to $4 million and powers for the regulator to issue fines without going to court.

• Establishing an independent resources safety and health authority.