HEALTH HOTLINE: Queensland mine and quarry workers will have greater access to support through an initiative to combat mine dust lung disease. Picture: Tessa Mapstone
HEALTH HOTLINE: Queensland mine and quarry workers will have greater access to support through an initiative to combat mine dust lung disease. Picture: Tessa Mapstone

Hotline to help combat mine dust lung disease

CURRENT and former Queensland mine and quarry workers will have greater access to support through an initiative to combat mine dust lung disease.

A new confidential hotline (1300 445 715) will be launched on Monday, March 2, to give current and former mine workers faster access to services and advice about lung disease.

Stanwell Corporation, which runs the South Burnett’s Meandu mine, welcomed the new service.

“Stanwell welcomes the Queensland Government’s introduction of its mine dust lung disease hotline, which provides current and former coal mine workers with expert advice and support services,” a Stanwell representative said.

“Stanwell takes the health of its people very seriously, including managing their potential exposure to coal dust, other dusts and ash.”

Stanwell provides employees and contractors with respiratory personal protective equipment where required, and also undertakes regular respiratory health checks.

“We also support our employees to proactively manage their general health and wellness needs with various initiatives and programs, including encouraging them to visit their GP for regular health checks.”

Assistant State Development Minister Julieanne Gilbert said the hotline would be a one-stop shop support service.

“Easy access to accurate workplace health information and free services is essential for concerned and affected workers and their families,” she said.

“The one-stop shop will provide them with expert advice and support on navigating the system, from pre-health screening to accessing post-workers’ compensation claim support and everything in between.”

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said the hotline would give callers information about free mine worker health services.

“This includes compulsory free chest X-rays and lung function tests, and ready access to advice about workers’ compensation,” she said.

Rockhampton MP Barry O’Rourke said mine dust lung disease impacted all aspects of a worker’s life.

“That’s why the government introduced laws in 2017 that deliver stronger workers’ compensation protections for Queenslanders suffering personal and financial distress,” he said.

“For those who have developed these insidious diseases through their work, support is available.”

WorkCover Queensland CEO Bruce Watson said the Mine Dust Health Support Service was an extremely positive step forward in tackling the impact these diseases could have on families.

“This new service provides an enhanced, seamless service to those impacted by mine dust disease,” he said.

Queensland coal workers are entitled to receive free respiratory health checks when they start in the industry, when they leave and at least every five years while they are working.

Retired or former coal, mineral mine and quarry workers have access to the same free checks.

All medical professionals who provide compulsory mine worker health checks and take and read chest X-rays must have special training.

Workers’ free X-rays are taken in specially registered clinics.

Access the Mine Dust Health Support Service on 1300 445 715 or email info@minedusthealthsupport.com.

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