A diagnosis of mine dust lung disease (MDLD) doesn’t mean the end of your career as a mine or quarry worker. It does however mean types of roles you can perform may change. It’s important to remember that with the right management and precautions, a case of mine dust lung disease detected early is not life-threatening.
To ensure you get the right information and support you need, the Queensland Government has established the Mine Dust Health Support Service.
Mine Dust Health Support Service
Phone: 1300 445 715 (business hours: 8.30am to 4.30pm)
If you are a current or former Queensland mine or quarry worker, we can help you understand:
- your rights
- the screening and diagnosis process
- how to access ongoing support.
If you develop a mine dust lung disease because of your work in Queensland, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
You can contact the Mine Dust Health Support Service for information, services and support.
Please see the Contact page for more information about this service.
Treatment and rehabilitation
There is no cure for mine dust lung diseases. Damage caused to the lungs cannot be reversed. But you can slow or stop the progress of the disease by limiting your exposure to respirable dust at work and at home.
Current and former mine and quarry workers with mine dust lung disease have access to public health services to obtain medical aids, equipment and treatment. Visiting specialists are available to assist people in regional areas who have shortness of breath associated with lung disease.
Watch Mick Powell's story about living with, and accessing support if you have a diagnosis of MDLD.
Returning to work after diagnosis
After spending a large part of your working life in mines or quarries, it’s natural to be concerned that a mine dust lung disease diagnosis could exclude you from the industry in which you’ve developed years of job-specific skills.
A mine dust lung disease diagnosis does mean that you will no longer be able to perform roles in environments with high dust levels. However, there are many roles available within the mining and quarrying industry that are suitable for workers with disease, including roles involving:
- surface operations
- underground mining operations with controlled dust exposure (e.g. as electricians)
- outbye tasks away from respiratory hazards
- maintenance and infrastructure.
The Queensland Government and unions have committed to working with mining companies to retain workers with disease within the industry, and facilitate these workers into suitable roles on a case-by-case basis.
Termination and reinstatement
If you are diagnosed with a mine dust lung disease, you cannot be terminated within 12 months of your diagnosis, just because you can’t work in your own job.
For more information, contact the Mine Dust Health Support Service on 1300 445 715 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you develop a mine dust lung disease as a result of your employment, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
Some mining and quarrying companies have chosen to self-insure for workers’ compensation. In Queensland, these companies include BHP Billiton Limited, Glencore Queensland Limited and South32 Cannington Pty Ltd. A full list of companies and contact numbers can be found on the Office of Industrial Relations website.
If your company is not self-insured, you need to contact WorkCover Queensland on 1300 362 128.
For help with this process, contact your union, or the Queensland Council of Unions Workers’ Compensation Information Service on 1800 102 166.
If your claim is accepted, you may be entitled to:
- weekly compensation (for lost wages)
- medical, surgical and hospital expenses and medicines
- lump sum compensation for pneumoconiosis and for any permanent impairment
- rehabilitation treatment and equipment or services
- travelling expenses.
Read about employment and compensation rights (PDF, 108KB).
Resources – Worker information booklets
Download or order your free copies of our handy booklets that provide more information on what is MDLD, airborne dust and the medical examinations.