The Queensland Government has placed a call for tenders from Australian-based radiology services to conduct the second check on mine worker’s compulsory chest x-rays, in a bid to tackle black lung in the state.
Since July 2016, Queensland coal miners’ chest x-rays have been checked twice – once by an Australian radiologist and a second time by a US-based National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health expert.
The state government is now aiming to have Australian radiologists undertake the second assessment.
Queensland’s natural resources and mines minister Anthony Lynham said the tender would also involve strict conditions on health facilities taking the x-rays to ensure the staff are accurately trained and have the necessary qualifications.
“The US-based reading has been an interim measure until Australian radiologists have gained the internationally-recognised B-reader qualification,” he said.
“An all-Australian service will now mean faster results, and certainty, for our coal miners.”
All coal miners in Queensland have compulsory chest x-rays before, during and upon leaving the leave the mining industry.
From January 1 2017, the state government also enforced a number of stricter measures to combat black lung, which include mining companies providing dust monitoring data to the Mines Inspectorate every three months and coal mine workers permanently retiring from the industry being allowed to request a chest x-ray and respiratory function test.
There have been 20 confirmed cases of black lung since May 2015.
The tender closes on May 19 and set to be awarded in July.