Queensland mine and quarry workers can now access free health checks as part of a government initiative to identify dangerous lung diseases such as silicosis and black lung earlier. Previously only available to coal miners, this testing will enable approximately 15,000 workers to be provided with free screenings to help to aid early detection and prevent disease progression.
These screenings will be available as of September 1 and will allow all mine and quarry workers to access screenings every five years, as well as when they enter or leave a job. Retired mine and quarry workers are also eligible for free lung health checks for life. These screenings are available to workers for life.
The Queensland Government has introduced a range of measures to improve mine and quarry worker safety, including the introduction of a mobile health service truck which will hit the road later this year. Other reforms include a confidential mine dust health support hotline (1300 445 715) to provide current and former industry workers with access to health and safety information.
While this is a step in the right direct for Queensland, Australia has people working in mines and quarries right across the country. We encourage other state and national bodies to follow Queensland’s example and put similar measures in place to protect all workers.
How do I access free health checks?
Workers from the following industries may be eligible for lung health checks:
- Mineral Ore Treating Processes
- Brick, concrete or stone cutting (i.e. dry methods)
If you work in one of these industries, you can find more information on each state’s health checks here:
- Queensland: Current and former mine and quarry workers in Queensland can contact 1300 445 715 to access their free health check. Stonesmasons can also arrange a health screening through WorkCover on 1300 362 128.
- New South Wales: If you are located in NSW, your employer must provide health monitoring for workers who are exposed to hazardous dust in the workplace – your employer can book a mobile Lung Screening service through icare.
- Victoria: Stonemasons can access free testing through WorkSafe Victoria – booking details are provided on the WorkSafe website.
- More information about Australian employer health check obligations for workers can be found here.
You can find more information on black lung, silicosis and dust related diseases here
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: July 31, 2020.