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 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 Queensland Health 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 Queensland Health for the NDLD register. Clinical reports, X-rays and CT scans as well as detailed exposure histories and the names of workplaces where exposure may have taken place will not be included 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.
Personal information collected by Queensland Health is handled in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2009. The NDLD register is collecting personal information about notifiable dust lung diseases in accordance with the Public Health Act 2005 (Chapter 6 Part 3A) and the Public Health Regulation 2005 (Part 8 Division 5) to monitor and analyse the incidence of notifiable dust lung disease.
All personal information will be securely stored and is only accessible by authorised Queensland Health staff. Your personal information will not be disclosed to any third parties without consent 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
The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and WorkCover Queensland also hold some health screening records, which may include information about diagnoses of notifiable dust lung diseases. Relevant information about cases of notifiable dust lung diseases from these agencies will be requested by Queensland Health to ensure the completeness of the NDLD register.
Workers who are diagnosed with an occupational dust lung disease may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Please see WorkCover Queensland’s Silicosis and support for stonemasonry workers and employers and work-related respiratory diseases for more information.