As per the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Regulation 2017, all mineral mine and quarry (MMQ) workers are required to undertake pre-employment, periodic, and termination medicals due to the potential workplace exposure to respiratory hazards such as dusts including silica (Business Queensland, 2022).

The Queensland Silica MMQ medical includes the following components: Health surveillance screening, spirometry lung function testing, a medical examination with the doctor, and an International Labour Organization (ILO) chest x-ray reported by two qualified ‘B’ readers. Depending on the results of the ILO chest x-ray, a worker may be required to complete a high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scan before the medical results can be finalised. Once the examining medical officer (EMO) has seen the ILO chest x-ray results, they will contact the worker if the result is 1/0 or worse to then complete a HRCT scan.

The requirement for the HRCT is as per Resources Health and Safety Queensland (RSHQ) clinical pathway guidelines (Business Queensland, 2022). This testing is required in order to help diagnose workers with silica-related respiratory diseases as the ILO chest x-ray is less sensitive and serves only as a screening tool in this process. It is important that this testing is completed as silicosis is incurable which may lead to various lung conditions and potentially be fatal (Healthdirect, 2021).

Once completed, the MMQ medical has to be forwarded to our Specialised Services Unit (SSU) to be reviewed by an Appropriate Doctor (AMA), who will determine any further action required and then sign off the assessment. For additional information on HRCT costs, please email our team at info@sonichealthplus.com.au

References

Business Queensland. (2022). Mineral mines and quarries respiratory health surveillance.

https://www.business.qld.gov.au/industries/mining-energy-water/resources/safety-health/mining/medicals/mineral-mines-quarries-respiratory-health

Healthdirect. (2021). Silicosis – symptoms, treatments and causes.

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/silicosis

Dr David Jones
MSc, MB ChB, MFOM (RCP)(UK), Fellow AFOEM (RACP)Regional Medical Officer

Dr Jones is an experienced occupational physician, who has been in specialist practice for over 25 years. He is currently an Occupational and Environmental Physician with Sonic HealthPlus, providing a range of consulting services for corporate and government clients.

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