Special standards set for doctors to conduct coal mine workers’ compulsory tests

Coal mine workers will be assessed by specially registered medical professionals by the end of 2017 in the latest black lung disease reforms.

According to Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr. Anthony Lynham, doctors would meet special standards to be on a new register to conduct mine workers’compulsory tests.

“Medical professionals will need the appropriate qualifications and meet best practice standards to register from next month,” Dr. Lynham told Parliament today.

“Coal mine workers will have their health assessed by medical professionals that meet world-class standards.

“An independent organisation will be appointed to audit medical practitioners and practices who are added to the register to ensure they continue to meet the required standards.”

This new system is the latest black lung disease reform the Queensland Government has put in place following an independent expert review in 2016.

Compulsory chest X-rays have been assessed at least twice by Australian radiologists and then by US-based experts since July 2016.

The Queensland Government says coal mine workers will have world-class lung function tests, with new standards to set out clear requirements for medical practices conducting the tests, including training for staff members, spirometry testing and interpretation, spirometry equipment, and quality control by the end of this year.

Since 1 May, Queensland has a new recognised standard for underground respirable dust control, which helps mines identify key areas of dust generation and help with managing the risk of worker exposure.

Respirable dust monitoring results from Queensland’s coal mines will be published by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines. These will continue to be published quarterly on the department’s website.

Registered medical providers will be audited independently.

Dr. Lynham urged coal mine workers with health concerns to immediately consult their GP.

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