BLACK LUNG: The Queensland State Government have started a register for dust lung diseases.
BLACK LUNG: The Queensland State Government have started a register for dust lung diseases. Contributed

New register to help combat dust lung diseases

WORKERS frequently exposed to dust now have better workplace health and safety protections due to changes made to the Queensland Government Public Health Act 2005 and Public Health Regulation 2018.

Pneumoconiosis, silicosis and other occupational dust diseases will now be recorded on the Queensland Health Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register.

Under the changes, doctors who are specialists in occupational and respiratory medicine are now required to report cases of occupational dust lung diseases to the register.

It's a move backed by Gladstone Ports Corporation.

"Here at GPC we are committed to best practice management with regards to employee dust exposure," Acting CEO Craig Walker said.

"GPC conducts regular onsite monitoring and we have a number of dust mitigation measures incorporated into our operations including the use of misting sprays at conveyor transfer points and automated tunnel cleaning processes," Mr Walker said.

"GPC offers annual health checks for all employees and conducts biannual respirator face fit testing for employees required to wear respirators as part of their work."

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles encouraged all current and former mine workers and stonemasons to undertake a health screening.

"If you have been affected by exposure to dust during your work, please get yourself checked out," Dr Miles said.

"Early detection of some dust-lung conditions may make the difference between life and death for patients.

"Meanwhile, these reforms will ensure we have the best data at our disposal, so we can begin to identify cases of dust-related lung diseases early."

For more information on screenings call the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland hotline 1300362128.

Liana Walker