Changes to Queensland Coal Employees Health Scheme
As a consequence of the detection of "black lung" in some Queensland Miners in 2016 a review of the Coal Medical process has been completed to ensure we are adequately screening for Coal Workers 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 for Coal Board Pre Employment and Scheduled Review medical assessments throughout Queensland and the Sonic HealthPlus business.
Please be mindful that there may be further changes as the below processes develop.
1. Ongoing Coal Medical Assessments - Pre-Employment and Scheduled Review
A revised medical assessment form was provided to Sonic HealthPlus on the 26 April 2018 by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines which we began using as of the 8 May 2018. Our Quality Assurance team have ensured that this has superseded all versions of the previous medical assessment form and our Coal Board Team have been educated on the following changes to the new medical assessment process. These legislative changes mean that as of the 8 May 2018, Sonic HealthPlus will suspend performing QLD Coal Board Medicals outside of our Queensland clinics.
The updated assessment contains the following changes:
1. Section One
An expanded Section 1 to be completed by employers which requests more detail about the position, the nature of the work required and any possible exposures. Section 1 must be completed before Sonic HealthPlus can confirm candidate appointment bookings.
A significantly expanded Section 2 now requires more detail about past employment history. Again, this section must be completed by the candidate and available at the time of the health assessment.
2. Medical Assessment
The medical assessment is essentially the same as previously, but there is a requirement to complete more details about the chest x-ray and spirometry testing, which may potentially take more time.
New standards for spirometry including practitioners to be registered with the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME).
4. Chest X-rays
- The Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines requires that all chest x-rays are taken in a suitable facility (please see link to accredited facilities) and be read by two qualified readers, including one of the radiologists listed on the RANZCR preferred list. (Please note this list gets updated regularly)
- Sonic HealthPlus then send a copy of the x-ray image file extracted from a CD to the Department, who will forward to the US for a second reading by a B reader. The double reading in America is also intended only as an interim measure, the long-term goal is to have Australian radiologists appropriately trained and certified. The result will then be sent back to Sonic HealthPlus. At present, there is a significant delay in receiving this report, of up to twelve months.
- Where ILO chest x-rays are completed in an Alliance location, candidates may be required to travel to the nearest approved radiologist or the chest x-ray will be sent for a review with one of the registered radiologists, which will incur extra costs. Alliance bookings is unable to provide a turnaround timeframe on these chest x-rays.
The Department has established a secure portal for transfer of these x-rays.
As a result of this change in process there will be a delay before Section 4 can be can finalised. The Department has approved of Nominated Medical Advisors issuing an interim certificate for 12 months, so that employees may be permitted to work on site, whilst awaiting the second reading of the chest x-ray. When the second x-ray report is received, we are then able to issue a final Section 4.
2. Review X-Rays
There is yet to be a clear process established on the requirements for follow-up of underground workers who have previously been x-rayed. The Department and various mining companies have made slightly different recommendations.
Generally it is agreed that:
- Where available, any x-ray less than 2 years old, provided is a digital image, the x-ray should be reviewed.
- Where an x-ray is greater than 2 years old, individuals should be offered a new x-ray.
Sonic HealthPlus Chief Medical Officer Dr Adam believes we will be required to have these x-rays reviewed by a radiologist on the RANZCR preferred list. It now appears that the Department will also facilitate review of these x-rays by B readers in the United States as an interim measure.
Booking your QLD Coal Board Medicals
To streamline the booking of QLD Coal Board Medicals and ensure compliance with the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME), Sonic HealthPlus is introducing a new booking process specifically for QLD Coal Board Medicals as of the 8 May 2018.
QLD Coal Board appointment requests will need to be submitted though an online appointment requests page located here. The appointment request page includes a link to the section 1 for your booking representative to complete. If the requested information including Section 1 of the form is not supplied we will be unable to complete your booking.
Appointments for QLD Coal Board Medicals 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.
Queensland Coal Mine Workers Health Scheme (QLD Coal Board)
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 Board Medicals 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.
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
* All Queensland Mine Workers Health Surveillance medicals require a Nominated Medical Advisor (NMA) 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
There may be additional costs incurred for the second reading of the medical as we need to account for the doctors review time. Additional costs can be discussed with our Specialised Services Team.
These legislative changes mean that as of the 8 May 2018, Sonic HealthPlus will suspend performing QLD Coal Board Medicals outside of our Queensland clinics at this point in time. We hope to be able to resume this service nationally into the future.
Sonic HealthPlus will not book an appointment for a QLD Coal Board without all of the required Section 1 information.
There will not be any impact on pricing currently, however we will review the process three months after implementation to assess if additional costs are being generated due to the legislative updates.
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
As per the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines requirements, we need to ensure that all required paperwork is provided prior to completing a booking for a medical. This limits our ability to turn around a medical on the same day.
Your medical information is forwarded from the examining doctor to the NMA. When completed the required documents are uploaded to the department portal. Sonic HP keeps all health records in compliance with the privacy regulations.
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.
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.
Current validity is five years as per the ILO testing requirements.
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.
Different states have different legislative requirements and you need to meet the legislative requirements for the state you will be working in.
For further information please contact your client partner or the Specialised Services Unit:
P 1300 588 440