QLD Coal Mine Workers Health Scheme

Assisting in the screening and detection of pneumoconiosis or “black lung” in Queensland Coal Miners.

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Changes to QLD Coal Mine Workers Health Scheme

As a consequence of the detection of “black lung” in some Queensland Miners in 2016 a review of the medical assessments process was competed.

Legislation changes came into effect in 2018, with further changes in 2019. All changes are aimed to ensure coal employees are adequately screened for Coal Miners pneumoconiosis or “black lung”. Sonic HealthPlus’ Chief Medical Officer Dr Keith Adam, has been working closely with the Queensland Resources Safety & Health Queensland (RSHQ) to ensure changes are implemented through the Sonic HealthPlus business.

Important Update

As of March 1 2019 further legislative changes come into effect that mean changes in Sonic HealthPlus’ process in regards to:

  • ILO Chest X-ray process and price
  • Worker Lungscreen ID registration
  • Approved provider network – including EMOs, AMAs, spirometry clinics and radiology providers
  • Employer Appointed Medical Adviser

1. Ongoing Coal Worker Medical Assessments – New-starter and Periodic

On March 1, 2019 a newly revised Health Assessment Form comes into effect. The form has been reviewed by our Quality Assurance team who advise the changes are administrative, and no additional testing requirements exist. All previous medical assessments forms have been superseded at our medical clinics.


Section 1

Section 1 is completed by the employer. It includes information about the AMA, the employer, the worker's position, similar exposure groups and the health risks associated with employment

Section 2

Section 2 is completed by the worker. It documents the worker's personal details as well as work and medical history information. Photo ID must be brought to the assessment

Section 3

Section 3 is completed by an examining medical officer and details clinical findings

Section 4

Section 4 (the health assessment report) is completed and signed by the AMA and details fitness for duty, work restrictions and requirements for a subsequent follow-up and assessment of the worker. Only this section is forwarded to the employer.

Important:

The AMA only completes Section 4 when all examinations and follow up investigations, including the ILO outcome after the dual-B-read process. Interim Section 4’s are no longer available.

Lungscreen ID registration

The employer should advise the worker/candidate that it is mandatory to register on the Lungscreen portal. The worker/candidate will then automatically be issued with a registration number. It is vital the candidate/worker registers as soon as possible and registration is only required once.

The worker/candidate can complete the online registration here.

Ideally the workers Lungscreen ID is provided at the time of booking, but can be provided at the clinic on the day of assessment.

ILO Chest X-Ray process and price

Previously ILO Chest X-rays could be completed at most Radiology locations, with the US based B-read being coordinated (and paid for) by the DNRME.

As of March 1 2019 it is mandatory that Lungscreen Australia complete the B-read. The cost of this service is no longer paid for by DNRME, and must be borne by the employer. Lungscreen will classify coal mine worker Chest X-rays to the ILO Classification and will provide the final ILO report back to the referring doctor.

There will no longer be an Interim Report available. The Section 4 can only be released AFTER the final B-read by Lungscreen.

These changes will affect the cost of providing the Coal Mine Workers Health Scheme Medical to companies. For more information on these charges please contact your Client Partner.

How long will it take to receive my results?

A Queensland Coal Mine Workers Health Scheme assessment includes a number of assessments conducted externally to the Sonic HealthPlus clinic, and the oversighting by your company’s Approved Medical Advisor (AMA) before it is complete.

The time frame for the delivery of your results can vary as outlined below:


Where the worker is fit and all testing is completed on the day of appointment (including ILO Chest X-ray) will take up to 6-10 days.

* Urgent service not available in QLD Alliance Clinics.


Where the worker has a medical issue to be followed up, or there are delays in completing off-site services (eg ILO Chest X-ray) will take up to 21 days.

To ensure your workers are job site ready please plan ahead. Sonic HealthPlus recommends booking medical assessments a minimum of one month prior to a worker’s Section 4 expiry date.

B-read

Health assessments include a chest X-ray to detect coal mine dust lung diseases such as coal workers' pneumoconiosis. Images are dual-read by B-readers who have been accredited by the United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). These readers examine chest X-rays to the International Labour Organization International Classification of Radiographs of Pneumoconiosis (ILO Classification).

Since July 2016, US-based B-readers accredited by NIOSH have provided a dual-reading service to Queensland's coal mine workers. From 2017 the transition to Australian B-readers has been progressing. DNRME has engaged Lungscreen Australia to coordinate an Australian-based dual-read program. The University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) will continue to audit a sample of chest X-rays submitted with health assessment records as part of the ongoing quality assurance program as recommended by the Monash University review.

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2. Review X-Rays

Legislation requires that all Queensland Coal mine workers require a NEW ILO Chest X-ray every five years as a minimum. In addition, although a new image may not be required, you must always be able to provide a copy of the previous report for the AMA to consider when reviewing your medical fitness. It is the experience of our AMAs that ILO Chest X-rays older than two years may have quality issues with the image or report. We recommend you get a new image and report completed if you are unable to provide a report that is less than two years old.

Please select the additional service of ILO Chest X-ray if you are unable to provide a copy of a recent ILO Chest X-ray report (from the past two years) at the time of your appointment. The Section four cannot be completed by the AMA without either the new, or previous ILO Chest X-ray report.

Where reliance on a past report is made, it is the responsibility of the candidate to provide this report at the time of the medical. The medical will be pending until the information is received and can be processed.

Booking your Qld Coal Workers Health Scheme Assessment

To streamline the booking of Qld Coal Worker Health Assessments and ensure compliance with the Queensland Resources Safety & Health Queensland (RSHQ), Sonic HealthPlus introduced a new booking process in May 2018.

Qld Coal Worker Health Assessments need to be submitted through the online appointment request page. The appointment request page includes a link to the Section 1 for your booking representative to complete. If the requesting information including Section 1 of the form is not supplied we will be unable to complete your bookings.

In addition, you need to provide the Lungscreen ID for the worker. Follow the link here to obtain a Lungscreen ID if you do not have one.

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COVID-19 UPDATE: All persons attending a medical appointment at a Sonic HealthPlus clinic will be required to complete a COVID-19 Triage Assessment form. If you are not vaccinated or fully vaccinated, we will need to undertake a risk assessment, which may include Rapid Antigen Testing.

Please note: Patients who attend for their medical assessment presenting with flu-like symptoms or have recently travelled from a COVID hotspot may be turned away.

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