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Medical experts join forces to fight black lung disease

05 March 2024

International medical experts and radiologists from across Queensland have met in Brisbane to continue to improve the way they screen for diseases like black lung and silicosis.

The event, on Monday, saw participants share best practice on chest X-rays and CT scanning to ensure workers in our mining and quarrying industries have access to high quality examinations that detect lung diseases as early as possible.

Radiologists attending the summit had specialist ‘B-reader’ certification in the international standards for reporting chest X-rays for lung disease.

Reporting of images by B-readers is compulsory for all Queensland mine and quarry workers.

Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) hosted the event in partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Lungscreen Australia and I-MED Radiology.

RSHQ's Director of Health Strategy and Compliance Patrick Jensen said the ‘B-Reader Summit’ was an important opportunity for doctors to collaborate on ways to accurately detect mine dust lung diseases.

"Today we provided B-readers the opportunity to put their knowledge to the test through specially designed workstations, challenging them with practical, real-world cases,” said Mr Jensen.

"At the end of the day, everything we do is about supporting the early detection of disease and providing better health outcomes for mine workers in Queensland, and this summit helps us achieve that.”

Internationally renowned black lung expert Dr Robert Cohen from the UIC presented at the B-Reader Summit and said Queensland is leading the way in screening for mine dust lung diseases. 

"Since 2016 Queensland has rocketed, I think, to the forefront of global standards for medical surveillance," said Dr Cohen. 

"X-ray imaging is really one of the most important surveillance tools for people that are exposed to these dusts.

“The risk will be there as long as people are disturbing the earth and mining and creating dust, so you can never, never relax.”

Fellow presenter, B-reader radiologist, and Director of Lungscreen Australia Dr Siavash Es’haghi said medical practitioners like radiologists and radiographers are always learning, so summits like RSHQ’s are so important.

“We needed all the radiologists to have a discussion around how best to interpret images,” said Dr Es’haghi.

“This is about discussing amongst ourselves what are the challenges that each radiologist may face and how do we overcome that, how do we interpret these more efficiently?”



Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) is the regulator of safety and health legislation across Queensland’s mining, quarrying, explosives (including fireworks) petroleum and gas industries. RSHQ’s priority is the safety and health of workers and the communities they operate in, with a vision of zero serious harm.

Media contact

Amy McCann

0457 094 250

Last updated: 05 Mar 2024