Better protections kick in for resources workers

Better protections kick in for resources workers

Free, mandatory lung health checks and slashed mine dust limits take effect this week to protect the state’s mine and quarry workers.

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

This follows a nationwide review by Safework Australia. Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham committed three years ago to adopt Safe Work Australia’s recommendations on workplace exposure standards.

As well, 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, at least once every five years during their career in the industry.

And after they leave the industry, they can continue to have free respiratory health checks for life, if they want to.

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 changes complement a suite of sweeping mine safety and health reforms under the Palaszczuk Government, the most substantial suite of reforms in 20 years. They include

  • Introducing the offence of industrial manslaughter
  • better detection and prevention of black lung, and other mine dust lung diseases, and an improved safety net for affected workers.
  • $35 million to deliver reforms to improve worker safety and health a
  • increased maximum penalties for offences to $4 million and powers for the regulator to issue fines without going to court.
  • statewide safety reset sessions for mine and quarry workers to refocus on health and safety
  • powers to suspend or cancel statutory certificates of competency
  • extra mines inspectors.