Occupational 8

Coal Mine Workers

Australia is currently facing a resurgence of the fatal employment related disease Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as Black Lung Disease. The Coal Mine Workers' Health Scheme protects the health of Queensland coal mine workers by ensuring periodic health assessments are conducted.

Early detection of coal mine lung dust disease is essential. A miner with early signs of CWP may have no symptoms, but their exposure to harmful dust should be reduced to prevent the disease from progressing. Accordingly, early detection through an effective screening program is critical to protecting the workforce.

Regulatory changes on 1 January 2017 under the Coal Mine Workers' Health Scheme require that all Queensland coal mine workers receive a health assessment upon entry to the industry, then at least every 5 years and upon requirement (on a voluntary basis).

The health assessment must include a lung function test through spirometry. A chest X-ray is required at least every 5 years for underground workers and every 10 years for above-ground workers. To ensure early detection of CWP, all coal mine workers' chest X-rays must be dual read against the International Labour Organization (ILO) standard.

In 2017 Lungscreen was proud to be appointed by Resources Safety & Health to provide this service across Queensland.

Why is it important that scans are 'dual read'?

Lungscreen's team of experts have achieved B-reader accreditation from the US-based National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The B-readers will report in the format recognised by the ILO, which provides a rigorous process for reporting on the abnormalities in chest X-rays that may indicate pneumoconiosis.

The Department has commenced the transition of dual-reading chest X-rays to Lungscreen. For now, Lungscreen will conduct the first read and UIC will conduct the second read and any adjudications necessary, producing the final report.

The first group of coal mine workers to have their chest X-ray read under this new process will begin in early May 2018.

What does this process look like?

Click here to learn more about the B-reading process with Lungscreen Australia.

How do I register with Lungscreen?

A key feature of the new Australian-based service is that you need to register with Lungscreen. This is only required once and before your X-ray is taken.

Registration allows your X-ray to be accurately tracked through the reading process and allows you to access your X-ray image and ILO reports online.

You can register yourself here or ask the doctor conducting your health assessment to register on your behalf.

Lungscreen will notify you when your ILO report is available to access.

Registered X-ray Providers

For a list of registered X-ray providers, please follow this link to Resources Safety & Health Queensland.