Dr Greg Slater who is an expert in reading X-rays for Black Lung Disease photographed at Greenslopes Hospital. Picture: Russell Shakespeare
Dr Greg Slater who is an expert in reading X-rays for Black Lung Disease photographed at Greenslopes Hospital. Picture: Russell Shakespeare

Better protections kick in for mine and quarry workers

SLASHED mine dust limits will take effect this week to protect the state’s mine and quarry workers.

Coal and silica dust levels are responsible for the deadly black lung disease and silicosis.

From today, the allowable limit for respirable coal dust is cut to 1.5 milligrams per cubic metre from 2.5 and from 1 to 0.05 milligrams per cubic metre for silica dust.

The new limits come after a nationwide review was conducted by SafeWork Australia.

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham made a commitment to adopt SafeWork Australia’s recommendations on workplace exposure standards three years ago.

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From today, free mandatory health checks already in place for coal mine workers will also extend to the state’s 15,000 metalliferous mine and quarry workers.

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham. Picture: News Corp/Attila Csaszar
Mines Minister Anthony Lynham. Picture: News Corp/Attila Csaszar

Every metalliferous mine and quarry 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, they can continue to have free respiratory health checks for life, if they want to.

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Dr Lynham said the protections were the latest in a suite of reforms to protect the health and safety of the state’s resources workers.

“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.”