Notifiable dust lung diseases
If you have concerns about your health after working in a dusty environment, it is important to visit your GP. Early diagnosis and preventive measures may help to make sure that respiratory symptoms do not develop further.
If occupational dust lung disease is detected, your GP can refer you to a respiratory or occupational medical specialist. If this specialist makes a diagnosis of a notifiable dust lung disease caused by occupational exposure to inorganic dust, they will make a notification to the Queensland Health Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register (NDLD Register). Diseases that must be notified to the NDLD Register are:
- cancer (caused by occupational exposure to inorganic dust)
- chronic obtrusive pulmonary disease including chronic bronchitis and emphysema
- pneumoconiosis including:
- coal workers’ pneumoconiosis
- mixed-dust pneumoconiosis
Examples of inorganic dust include dust from silica, coal, asbestos, natural stone, tungsten, cobalt, aluminium and beryllium.
The Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register
The NDLD Register has been established in response to the re-emergence of occupational dust lung diseases such as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis and silicosis. Monitoring and analysis of occupational dust lung diseases in Queensland will improve our knowledge of and response to these diseases.
Information collected by the NDLD Register
Information about a diagnosis of a notifiable dust lung disease will be securely forwarded to the NDLD Register. Only information consistent with the data fields in the approved form (PDF 399 kB) for notifications is recorded in the NDLD Register. Clinical reports, X-rays and CT scans as well as detailed exposure histories and names of workplaces where exposure may have taken place are not given to, or recorded in, the NDLD Register.
Information from the NDLD Register will be used to prepare an annual report, focusing on the number and type of notifications of notifiable dust lung diseases recorded in the register. This report will only contain high level, grouped information and will not contain information which would enable an individual to be identified.
Under the Public Health Act 2005, strict confidentiality and disclosure of information obligations apply to the NDLD Register.
Personal information collected by the NDLD Register is handled in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2009 and the Department of Health Privacy Plan. All personal information is securely stored and only accessible by authorised Queensland Health staff. Personal information is not disclosed to any third parties without consent of the person to whom the information relates unless the disclosure is authorised or required by law.
Queensland Health supports your right to see or amend the personal information (including your health information) we hold about you. Find out how to access or amend your health records and personal information.
Health screening by other agencies
Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) has health records of coal mine workers who have undergone a health assessment as well as other information such as the names of workers who have been reported to RSHQ with a notifiable dust lung disease from across mining and quarrying industries. The Office of Industrial Relations (OIR) collects information on workers across all industries who have lodged a claim for workers’ compensation for a work-related injury. Queensland Health requests relevant information about cases of notifiable dust lung disease from both RSHQ and OIR to ensure the completeness of the NDLD Register. The confidentiality of this information is protected by legislation.
Workers who are diagnosed with an occupational dust lung disease may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Please see WorkCover Queensland’s work-related respiratory diseases for more information.
Mine Dust Health Support Service (MDHSS)
Mine dust health support service is a joint initiative of RSHQ, WorkCover Queensland and the OIR. This confidential helpline provides information on screening, compensation and support services for current and former mine and quarry workers who are diagnosed with a dust lung disease from their employment, as well as their families. This service can be contacted either by calling 1300 445 715 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Information about the Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register
- Information for mine and quarry workers and their families
- Free respiratory health assessments for retired coal mine, mineral mine and quarry workers
- Compensation for work-related respiratory diseases
- Lung Foundation Australia - Living with occupational lung disease booklet
- 13 HEALTH – Health advice over the phone