QLD Coal Mine Workers Health Scheme

QLD Coal Mine Workers Health Scheme

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 Department of Natural Resources and Mines 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 All previous medical assessments forms have been superseded at our medical clinics.

The updated assessment contains the following components:

  • 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 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 is completed by an examining medical officer and details clinical findings
  • 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:

Urgent: 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.

Routine: 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.

The ILO Chest X-ray process time frame:

urgent chart

routine chart

2. Review X-Rays

Legislation requires that all Queensland Coal mine workers require a NEW ILO Chest X-ray every 5 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 2 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 2 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 2 years) at the time of your appointment. The Section 4 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 Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DRNME), 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 located here. 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.

Appointments for Qld Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme Assessments will not be taken over the phone, via email or through Diary Direct as of the 8 May, 2018. We apologise for any inconvenience, however we have had to update our internal processes and procedures to ensure we are compliant with the legislative updates.

Request an Appointment

Queensland Coal Mine Workers Health Scheme
Medical Appointment Request Form

To ensure compliance with the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME), Sonic HealthPlus requires all requests for a QLD Coal Board Medical to be submitted though the below appointment request form. As of the 8 May 2018 requests for Qld Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme Assessments will no longer be taken over the phone, via email or through Diary Direct.

In order to request an appointment, you must complete the Section 1 form and upload it below. Right-click the red button below and save the pdf to your desktop to complete a the Section 1 form. To complete your appointment request you must provide the worker’s Lungscreen ID. Click here to register for a Lungscreen ID and have this ready when completing your appointment request below.

Note: the preferred browser for this application is Google Chrome. Please use Google Chrome to ensure that your request is received.

Download Section 1 FormFor an extension click hereFor a review please click here

(Extensions only for medicals done prior to 28/2/2019)

Are you a company or private patient?
Please select one of the options available.

Company Name/Debtor
Please enter a company name.

Client ID
Please enter your client ID.

Candidate Name
Please enter the candidate's name.

Candidate DOB
//Please enter the candidate's date of birth.

Candidate Email Address
Please enter the candidate's email address.

Candidate Mobile Number
Please enter a valid mobile number. For example, 0413 123 456.

Employer Name
Please include your employer's name.


AMA First Name
Please enter the AMA's first name.

AMA Last Name
Please enter the NMA's surname.

AMA Email Address
Please enter the candidate's email address.

AMA Phone Number
Please enter a valid phone number with area code. For example, (03) 6345 6789.

AMA Clinic Name
Please enter the clinic name.


Requesting Person First Name
Please enter the requesting person's first name.

Requesting Person Surname
Please enter the requesting person's surname.

Requesting Person Email
Please enter the requesting person's email.

Requesting Person Phone
Please enter a valid phone number with area code. For example, (03) 6345 6789.

Requesting Person Mobile (optional)
Please enter the requesting person's number.

Clinic Location
Please select a clinic location.

QLD Alliance Clinic
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Appointment Availability 1
//Please select a date.

Time
Choose AM or PM.

Appointment Availability 2
/ / Please select a date.

Time
Choose AM or PM.

Appointment Availability 3
/ / Please select a date.

Time
Choose AM or PM.

QLD Coal Board Medical Type *
Please select a medical type.

The Final Section 4 cannot be signed by the AMA until the previous, or new ILO Chest X-ray report has been sighted for ALL assessments. Please tick one option only:

Please acknowledge this statement.

Please tick one option only:

Additional Items to be Included
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Other
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Lungscreen ID
Please enter a valid lungscreen ID (e.g. Coal Mine Worker ID – CMW18VN62205T).

Please select the turnaround time for your Lungscreen B-Read:
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*Urgent turnarounds are only available at specific locations. An additional cost applies. Sonic HealthPlus cannot guarantee turnaround times.

Results To
Please an email address to send the results to.

PO Number
Please enter a purchase order number.

Cost Code
Please enter a cost code.

Upload 'Section 1 Form' **
You must attach a completed copy of Section 1 form.

You must attach a completed copy of Section 1 form.

Comments
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* All Queensland Mine Workers Health Surveillance medicals require a Appointed Medical Adviser (AMA) review on top of the medical assessment components

** Without exception, you must submit a correctly completed Section 1 form in order for this request to be submitted and booked. You can download the form here.

Queensland Coal Mine Workers Health Scheme
Appoint a Medical Adviser

Sonic HealthPlus Occupational Physicians and Registrars in occupational medicine are Appointed Medical Advisers (AMA) for a number of Queensland Mines and will ensure these assessments are completed to the standards that meet the requirements of the legislation.

The term Appointed Medical Adviser (AMA) has replaced the terminology Nominated Medical Adviser (NMA) during 2019. This is a legislated change.

Employers are required to appoint one or more medical practitioners as their Appointed Medical Adviser (AMA). The AMA's role is to carry out, supervise and report on health assessments and retirement examinations for the employer's coal mine workers. Only the employer's AMA can complete and sign Section 4 of the relevant health assessment form for the employer's coal mine workers. However, Section 3 of the forms can be completed by an examining medical officer (EMO) working under the supervision of the AMA.

If your organization does not have an AMA please complete the form below and we can arrange this appointment on your behalf. If you already have a Appointed Medical Adviser (AMA), please advise:

First Name
Please enter the contact person's first name.

Last Name
Please enter the contact person's surname.

Company Name
Please enter a company name.

Phone Number
Please enter a valid phone number with area code. For example, (03) 6345 6789.

Email
Please enter the contact person's email.

State
Please select a state.

Do you already have a Appointed Medical Adviser (AMA)?
Please select Yes or No.


Please provide your AMA's details

Please advise if you have a preferred Sonic HealthPlus Appointed Medical Adviser (if known)

First Name
Please enter the NMA's first name.

Last Name
Please enter the NMA's surname.

Phone Number
Please enter a valid phone number with area code. For example, (03) 6345 6789.

Email
Please enter the NMA's email.

Clinic Name
Please enter the clinic name.

Preferred AMA's Details (if known)
Invalid Input

Examining Medical Advisers
As of March 1 2019, the medical assessment component (Section 3) of the Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme Assessment can only be undertaken by approved Examination Medical Officers (EMO). Sonic HealthPlus has EMO’s in all Queensland Clinics, Perth WA and a few locations in NSW.

Spirometry Clinics
As of March 1 2019, it is a requirements that clinicians conducting the respiratory function test components of the Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme Assessment meet stringent standards. All Queensland based, and several clinics in WA and NSW are approved Spirometry Clinics.

Sonic HealthPlus has an internal Spiro Quality Assurance Program that oversees the credentialing of all Examining Medical Officers (EMO), Appointed Medical Adviser (AMA), Spirometry Operators (SO) and Spirometry (Lung Function) Practice Registrations. This team audits all our participating clinics on a monthly basis to ensure compliance with The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) spirometry procedures, standards and equipment. This program is managed by our Clinical Governance Division and is further testament to our clinical quality in delivering this service.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am told I need to appoint an Approved Medical Adviser how do I do this?

Employers are required to appoint one or more medical practitioners as their appointed medical adviser (AMA). The AMA's role is to carry out, supervise and report on health assessments for the employer's coal mine workers. Only the employer's appointed AMA can complete and sign Section 4 of the relevant health assessment form for the employer's coal mine workers. However, Section 3 of the forms can be completed by an examining medical officer working under the supervision of the AMA.

If your organization does not have an AMA please click here to request Sonic HealthPlus’s assistance in arranging this appointment on your behalf.

I am an employer, what sections of the health assessment must I complete?

Section 1 is completed by the employer. It includes information about the AMA, the employer, the worker's position, similar exposure groups (SEG) and the health risks associated with employment. It is important this is completed in full or delays may be experienced in finalizing Section 4 (the health assessment report).

If a worker changes employers do they need health assessment?

A new health assessment may be required, however please discuss the specific situation with your AMA.

Why can’t my candidates/workers go to an x-ray clinic of their choice?

DNRME has engaged Lungscreen Australia to coordinate an Australian-based dual-read program.

From 1 March 2019, Lungscreen Australia will replace US-based B-reading for all Queensland coal mine worker chest X-rays. All chest X-rays must be sent to Lungscreen Australia from this date.

Amendments to the Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2017 commencing 1 March 2019 will make this a mandatory requirement of the Coal Mine Workers' Health Scheme.

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.

Higher fees will be charged for chest x-rays from 1 March 2019 as the DNRME is no longer funding the dual B process and employers will need to pay for this service from this date.

Do I have to get copies of previous lung function tests?

No, Sonic HealthPlus will obtain these results from DNRME, if DNRME don’t have copies and you have had a spirometry test at a clinic we will contact you to obtain consent to retrieve these records from the practice.

In addition, since the introduction of regulatory changes in 2017 to the CMWHS, respiratory function examinations undertaken as part of periodic health assessments include a comparative assessment with previous respiratory function results when available.

From 1 March 2019, no Interim Section 4 Reports will be issued.

Where can I get copies of health assessments?

Completed health assessment and retirement examination forms (including the health assessment and retirement examination reports) are the property of the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME). The confidentiality of these forms and reports is protected by law.

DNRME can release copies of completed forms and reports to:

  • the worker, or another person with the consent of the worker
  • a doctor or hospital without the coal mine worker's consent if the information is needed to treat the worker and the worker is unable to give consent
  • to a person, such as a doctor, without the coal mine worker's consent to enable the person to carry out an assessment or review (e.g. comparative assessment of spirometry)
  • an appropriately qualified person for approved research (i.e. approved by a Human Research Ethics Committee under the Public Health Act 2005 or similar body) without the coal mine worker’s consent.
How do I request copies of my health assessment?

Workers can obtain additional copies of their completed health assessment or retirement examination form from the appointed medical adviser (AMA). The AMA may charge for this service.

DNRME can also supply copies of completed forms and reports free of charge. Workers, and those wanting to obtain records where the worker's consent is required, must make a request in writing using the consent application form and include:

Email the application to HSU@dnrme.qld.gov.au.

What is coal workers’ pneumoconiosis?

Coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP) is one of a range of mine dust lung diseases (MDLD) caused by long-term exposure to mine dust.

Mine dust lung diseases (MDLD) are caused by long-term exposure to high concentrations of respirable dust, generated during mining and quarrying activities. MDLD include a range of occupational lung conditions including:

  • coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP)
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • silicosis
  • asbestosis.
I am told I have work restrictions what does this mean?

Depending on the type of health problem, the appointed medical adviser (AMA) may place some restrictions on a worker to minimise their risk (and risk to others) and prevent further injury or illness. Restrictions are detailed in Section 4 of the approved health assessment form and are explained to the worker by the AMA when the approved form is completed.

Restrictions do not necessarily preclude the worker from working, if they are still able to undertake the job safely. However, it is up to employers to determine whether these restrictions can be accommodated.

Can we (the employer) request the AMA visit the mine site?

Yes, and we encourage your company to engage with the AMA as much as possible. These doctors are highly trained medical professionals often with specialist training in occupational medicine. They are able to provide sound risk management advice and their frequent exposure at the mine site provides confidence to the workforce that they truly understand the risks associated with site and tasks.

What is a Queensland Mine Rescue Medical?

Mines rescue operations are physically and psychologically demanding and may involve working conditions that would not normally be considered tolerable.

Toxic atmospheres and poor ventilation encountered in rescue situations require personnel to wear self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for many operations. This, along with heavy physical work such as shifting fallen material and retrieving casualties, significantly increases the risk for heat stress, particularly as heat and humidity underground may already be high.

These conditions require a higher level of personal health and fitness than for normal mining operations. For this reason, the health assessment for mines rescue personnel needs to be more stringent than that for normal mining work (e.g. the Coal Mine Workers' Health Scheme).

When and how often must workers be assessed?

Health assessment for mines rescue personnel must be carried out:

  • every 2 years for persons up to age 40
  • every year for persons aged 40 and over.

Please note: If someone completes a medical at the age of 39, they will need to complete another medical when they turn 40, then yearly from then.

How the health assessment works?

The health assessment is in 2 parts:

  • Part A is the medical examination conducted on the approved form for the Coal Mine Workers' Health Scheme, but applying more stringent criteria.
  • Part B is the assessment of physical fitness through the VO2 max step test.

The health assessment should only be conducted and signed off by doctors who are experienced an Approved Medical Advisers under the Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2017.

Will these changes impact on the cost of a medical?

There will be additional costs for the employer in relation to the ILO Chest X-ray process. As of March 1 2019 the DNRME no longer covers the costs associated with the dual-B reading process. The employer must now cover the costs of the ILO Chest X-ray image AND the ILO Chest X-ray dual-B reading process.

Why can we no longer get a medical completed on the same day?

Several factors now limit Sonic HeatlhPlus’ capacity to complete medicals on the same day. However the main influencer is that Interim Section 4’s are no longer permitted. The AMA must wait for the final Lungscreen ILO Chest x-Ray B Read report before being able to complete the Section 4.

We are aware this may cause operational issues for our clients and will work with you where ever we can to expedite processes. However our best advice is plan ahead. Ensure all your workers have registered for Lungscreen IDs ahead of time.

The form changed 12 months ago, why has it changed again?

The Monash Review provided recommendations on the Coal Mine Workers Health Scheme to include updated detection quality with the view of disease prevention as opposed to just being cleared for working on-site. This includes updated spirometry equipment, training and testing.

Can you complete a medical without all of the information?

Sonic HealthPlus will not book an appointment for a QLD Coal Board without all of the required Section 1 information.

Why does the employer need to complete Section One?

The Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2017 (Qld) in Section 46 places the onus on the employer for monitoring the level of risk an employee is exposed to on site. Section 1 can only be completed by the employer because they are the only person with the knowledge of the site, the risks, and the role and tasks the worker will undertake. Section 1.5 also requires hazard exposures to be listed and this can only be completed accurately by the site expert.

The DNRM requires that employers establish and use their own similar exposure groups(SEGs) based on observation and knowledge of their operations. There is a table of groups and codes in the following tables provided by DNMR. These SEGs are used to facilitate employers reporting to the Mines Inspectorate.

You can find the link to the SEG's here

There is a new consent form – where is my medical information going?

Your medical information is forwarded from the examining doctor to the AMA. When completed the required documents are uploaded to the department portal. Sonic HP keeps all health records in compliance with the privacy regulations.

Can I complete a QLD Coal Mine Worker's Medical without having a confirmed job at a mine?

No. We are currently seeking advice from the department on this issue for individuals wanting to be mine ready and will advise in due course.

Can I use a QLD Coal Mine Worker's Medical with a different employer/Section 4?

This is possible however it is not a simple process and one that candidates need to manage. For further information contact the Specialised Services Unit on 1300 588 440.

How long does a QLD Coal Mine Worker's Medical last for?

Current validity is five years as per the ILO testing requirements.

What is the SEG number?

This number identifies you as part of a group that have the same general exposure risks. Mine operators must use these categories to report to the department.

Can I use my QLD Coal Mine Worker's Medical to work in NSW?

Different states have different legislative requirements and you need to meet the legislative requirements for the state you will be working in.

Further Information

For further information please contact your client partner or the Specialised Services Unit:

P 1300 588 440
E ssu@sonichealthplus.com.au
W www.sonichealthplus.com.au

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