Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme
Heart of Australia Corporate Health Initiative (HOACHI) offers state-of-the art respiratory health surveillance services to coal mines operating in regional, rural and remote Australia onboard our newest mobile medical clinic HEART 5. HOACHI’s respiratory health surveillance program for coal mine workers is a “one-stop-shop” including spirometry, ILO Chest X-ray, audiometry, vision testing and a physical examination with an emphasis on the respiratory system.
For coal mine workers identified with abnormal findings during their baseline respiratory health surveillance, HOACHI also has the capacity to provide services under the Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme (CMWHS) Clinical Pathways Guidelines including laboratory lung function testing, high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) and respiratory specialist reviews to confirm or exclude a dust related lung disease.
HOACHI’s spirometry and radiology services are accredited by Quality Innovation Performance (QIP) and Resources Safety & Health Queensland (RSHQ), ensuring the highest quality respiratory testing standards for coal mine workers accessing the service. HOACHI’s examining and supervising physicians are also registered as approved providers with RSHQ and we have senior physicians from radiology, occupational and respiratory specialities with extensive experience in dust related lung diseases to support this program.
Please contact us to discuss your organisation’s respiratory health surveillance requirements and we look forward to forming a close and productive partnership with you.
What is the CMWHS?
The Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme protects the health of Queensland coal mine workers by ensuring they undergo compulsory health assessments. This includes an assessment when they enter the industry and at least every 5 years while employed in the industry. Employers in Queensland must arrange and pay for health assessments undertaken for each coal mine worker they employ or intend to employ.
A CMWHS Health Assessment includes the following components:
✓ Respiratory questionnaire
✓ Spirometry test
✓ ILO chest X-ray
✓ Vision test
✓ Hearing test
✓ Cardiovascular examination
✓ Musculoskeletal examination
✓ Abdomen examination
✓ Skin examination
✓ Medical history questionnaire
✓ Specialist follow-up tests if required
Who is eligible?
✓ Workers who are applying for a job in the coal mining sector
✓ Current coal mine workers
✓ Mine rescue personnel
✓ Exiting coal mine workers*
✓ Retired/former coal mine workers**
* To be eligible for an employer paid assessment, exiting workers must have worked as a coal mine worker for at least 3 years (for any employer) and their last assessment must have been at least 3 years ago. Requests for your assessment can be made within a 6 months period, within 3 months prior to retirement and within 3 months after retirement.
** Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) will pay for lung checks for eligible retired and former coal mine workers. Contact the Mine Dust Health Support Service on 1300 445 715 or firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your eligibility so that HOACHI can pass the costs to RSHQ for your lung check. Further information is available from RSHQ about this process.
What is involved?
Section 1: The coal mine worker’s employer is responsible for arranging the health assessment and completing Section 1 of the health assessment form. This section includes information about the employer’s Appointed Medical Adviser (AMA), the worker’s role / position at the site, similar exposure groups and any specific risks associated with employment. As part of this process, the employer may apply for a Lungscreen ID or HOACHI can apply for one on your behalf. You can apply for a Lungscreen ID free of charge here.
Section 2: This section is completed by the coal mine worker. It documents their personal details, including any work and medical history information. This section is not released to the employer.
Section 3: This section is completed by the Examining Medical Officer (EMO), including assessment details and clinical findings. As part of the health assessment the coal mine worker must complete a chest X-ray under a specific international standard called the “ILO Classification”. They will also complete a respiratory questionnaire, spirometry test and other fitness-for-duty assessments. This section is not released to the employer.
Section 4: After Section 3 is complete, the coal mine worker’s health assessment results will be sent to your employer’s AMA. The AMA will review Section 3 and will make a determination as to the worker’s fitness for duty, work restrictions and any further investigations required as part of the Health Assessment Report in Section 4. The AMA can only complete this section once all examinations are complete, including chest X-ray and spirometry. This is the only section that is sent to the employer.
Employee confidentiality is of the utmost importance to us. The privacy of medical records is protected by the Australian Privacy Act 1988, as well as the confidentiality requirements of Section 52 of the Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2017 (the Regulation).
Only Section 4 may be disclosed to the employer, unless the worker’s consent is provided. The employee may, however, also request a copy of their health assessment records by written request to the Resource Safety and Health Queensland’s (RSHQ’s) Health Surveillance Unit (HSU). The AMA may also disclose the contents of the employee’s health assessment records to other parties in strict circumstances permitted under the Regulation. The employee’s written consent is required unless there is an emergency.
As a mobile service, our geographical coverage is broad. Subject to road and weather conditions, we have the capacity to service most mine sites in the following locations:
- Bowen Basin
- Surat Basin
- Tarong Basin
- Callide Basin
- Galilee Basin
- North West Minerals Province
- Opal and gem fields in the West and South West of Queensland
- North Queensland gold fields
For the purposes of CMWHS services, our focus is on regional Queensland locations where access to health assessment services are limited. In this regard, we specifically prioritise areas that have the greatest need, taking into account mine locations, worker populations and regional areas with limited access to approved RSHQ providers.
Please contact us to find out when we are next visiting your area.
Appointed Medical Adviser (AMA)
As part of the CMWHS health assessment, employers are required to nominate an AMA. An AMA’s role is to carry out, supervise and report on health assessments and exit examinations for an employer’s coal mine workers.
HOACHI has the capacity to work alongside your existing AMA and perform individual onsite services (e.g. radiology, spirometry, etc) according to site need or all of the required examination components under the CMWHS.
Alternatively, HOACHI has a highly experienced AMA Dr Graeme Edwards that complies with the qualification and experience standards for assessing coal mine workers and is an approved and registered Supervising Doctor with RSHQ.
If you would like us to work alongside your existing AMA or would like to appoint Dr Edwards as your site’s AMA, please contact us.