Health Monitoring Requirements for the NSW Coal Industry
The re-identification of coal workers pneumoconiosis in 2016, led to a review of the NSW Coal Mine Workers Order 41.
The Coal Services Board approved changes to strengthen the Order, changing the health monitoring requirements for NSW coal workers as of the 1 July 2018.
Coal Services Health Monitoring Requirements for Coal Mine Workers Order No. 43 builds on the Order 41 processes and systems established to protect the health and safety of workers in the NSW coal industry.
What’s the difference between Order 41 Medical and Order 43 Medical?
- Requirement of a Respiratory FIT-test
- Increased frequency of chest x-rays to every three years for underground, open cut coal mine workers, including coal workers with a history of dust exposure.
- Formalisation of reporting standards
- An approved and appropriately qualified medical practitioner and registered nurse must perform Order 43 medical assessments.
- Employer Role Requirement Form to be completed prior to the medical assessment.
What are the new requirements for chest X-rays?
Order 43 increases the frequency of chest x-rays for coal workers as follows:
Pre-employment chest x-rays
- A pre-employment chest x-ray is required for all workers on entry to the NSW mining industry. Existing workers who are changing roles are not required to undergo a chest x-ray, as long as they can provide an ILO chest x-ray less than 3 years old.
Periodic chest x-rays
- Underground coal workers must undergo a chest x-ray every three (3) years or at a shorter interval if indicated in their last medical;
- Open cut worker involved in the production, processing or maintenance of coal must undergo a chest x-ray every three (3) years or at the interval recommended in their last medical;
- Workers with a history of hazardous dust exposure must undergo a chest x-ray every three (3) years;
- Other workers must undergo a chest x-ray every six (6) years.
Introduction of an exit medical assessment
Exit medicals must be offered to all those employees retiring or otherwise ceasing work to ensure that any conditions that may impact on health after exiting the industry are identified, and appropriate actions put in place. The Exit medical does not contain a respiratory FIT component.
Want to know more?
For further information about these changes please visit www.coalservices.com.au
Respirator Fit Testing
Why do you need Respirator Testing?
Under the NSW Coal Industry Act 2001, Order 41 (health monitoring) detailed the requirements for all coal mining companies to ensure their workers undergo health monitoring. Order 43, taking effect July 1, 2018 strengthens the health monitoring requirements for NSW coal mine workers. This is in response to the re-identification of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (black lung). Respirator Fit Testing now forms part of the pre-placement and periodic health assessments as a proactive step in protecting workers’ health and providing ongoing education in the use of personal protective equipment.
Why is Fit Testing Important?
People come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and so do personal respirators. Because of this, a perfect facial fit is paramount in obtaining optimum protection. A poor fitting respirator may lead to leakage of contaminants into the breathing zone, thereby compromising the safety of the wearer.
- Not all respirators will fit all faces
- Poorly fitting respirators will leak contaminants into the breathing zone
What are my obligations as an EMPLOYER?
Order 43 requires that coal mine workers who undertake tasks relating to production, processing or maintenance must complete a Respirator Fit as a component of their medical assessment at the following times:
- At pre-placement medical assessment, prior to commencing work in a coal operation – IF this is their first time working in a NSW coal mine.
- At their periodic medical every 3 years.
As the employer YOU MUST PROVIDE THE RESPIRATOR they will be using for the assessment.
Why do I need to provide the Respirator?
There are a multitude of respirator devices being used across the coal mining industry. It is not feasible for a medical provider to maintain a store of all these devises. However it is necessary for the worker to be assessed with the device they will be using.
Respirator fit testing assesses whether the respirator assigned to a person forms an adequate seal around their face and verifies whether the wearer is provided the required level of protection against exposure to hazardous atmospheric contaminants.
What are my obligations as an EMPLOYEE?
You must bring to your appointment the RESPIRATOR PROVIDED BY YOUR EMPLOYER (or future employer).
You must remove ALL facial hair. Facial hair will interfere with the Respirator fit. The complete sealing surface of the respirator must be in contact with the wearer’s skin.
You must remove any piercings and makeup. All forms of jewellery that may interfere with the facial seal must not be worn. Facial make-up and creams applied to the face should not be worn as they may interfere with the face seal.
Which respirators and dust masks need to be tested? Bring to your appointment the type of mask you would wear at work. Any tight fitting mask must be tested. This includes:
- All disposable masks known as either P2 or N95 masks
- Half-face masks
- Full-face masks
- Full-face self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) masks
- Full-face powered air purifying (PAPR) masks
What does Respirator Fit Testing involve?
Sonic HealthPlus use the latest PortaCount quantitative fit test technology to assess whether the respirator assigned to a person forms an adequate seal around their face and verifies whether the wearer is provided the required level of protection against exposure to hazardous atmospheric contaminants.
Workers don the mask and the PortaCount devise measures respirator fit whilst the user performs a series of moving, breathing and talking exercises designed to simulate actual use in the workplace.
The test takes around 20 minutes.
Booking Your Order 43
As of the 9 July 2018, there will be three easy options to book into a clinic for you Order 43 Medical.
Mackay, QLD: 07 4952 5100 | Newcastle, NSW: 02 4978 6666
Oxley, QLD: 07 3375 6155 | Parramatta, NSW: 02 8861 9120
Important Information before you book your Appointment
Have you completed the Employer Role Requirements Form?
This must be completed by the EMPLOYER and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the medical assessment. The medical cannot be submitted to Coal Services without this information.
Similar exposure group selections must be made by the employer/ prospective employer only. The CS Health Similar Exposure Groups (SEGs) Reference document will assist when completing the Role Requirements form.
Has the Respirator been provided for the assessment?
Where candidates are required to perform a Respirator FIT test the EMPLOYER must provider the respirator the worker will be using in their role for the assessment.
The candidate/employee must remove ALL facial hair, piercings and makeup for the assessment. If a candidate fails to bring a respirator to their assessment the medical will not be completed and will need to be rebooked. Cancellation fees will apply.
Make an Enquiry
Sonic HealthPlus has a dedicated team looking after all coal related medical services nationally. You can contact them on email@example.com or via the below enquiry form.
Frequently Asked Questions
These legislative changes mean that as of the 1 July 2018, Sonic HealthPlus will only be able to offer Order 43 medicals at the following Sonic HealthPlus locations.
You will be able to make a booking at one of the below clinics as of the 9 July 2018.
- Newcastle, NSW
- Parramatta, NSW
- Brisbane CBD, QLD
- Oxley, QLD
- Mackay, QLD
We will continue to make bookings into Alliance locations which are accredited by NSW Coal Services.
The test costs $115 + GST. It takes around 20 minutes to complete and must be performed by a trained Registered Nurse. This is a requirement for ALL Periodic Medicals and for any worker new to the Coal Industry at their Pre-employment Medical.
Yes there are new forms to complete, some of which must be completed prior to the medical assessment by your employer. The Employer, or future employer, must complete and submit the Employer Role Requirments form and submit to SonicCoal@sonichelathplus.com.au.
The medical assessment is now completed on line by the accredited doctor. We are unable to provide you a copy of this ahead of your appointment.
Once all of the required information is provided to Sonic HealthPlus (X-Rays performed by a registered clinic and any additional requests for information from the Doctor are supplied) it will be signed off by the approved Doctor within 48 business hours.
Current validity is three (3) years.
Employers can utilise an existing pre-placement medical assessment for a new employee, provided the pre-placement medical assessment was undertaken within the 12 months – and provided it is approved by Coal Services.
The Coal Services website has a process to follow to apply for approval of an existing medical that the candidate/employee must complete. Click here to apply for approval.
Sonic HealthPlus is not able to transpose medicals.
Different states have different legislative requirements and you need to meet the legislative requirements for the state you will be working in.
No. We are currently seeking advice from the Coal Services on this issue for individuals wanting to be mine ready and will advise in due course.
Your medical information is submitted by the examining Doctor to the Senior Medical Officer at Coal Services Health for inclusion in the Coal Services Health Industry Database. Where information is incomplete, the medical will not be accepted. This includes the submission of the Employer Role Requirements Form.
No. Different states have different legislative requirements and you need to meet the legislative requirements for the state you are working in.
For further information please contact your client partner.