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A Coal Board Medical is a standard occupational medical examination required for all coal mine employees currently working in Queensland.

The Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme operates under the Queensland Government’s Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy. This scheme protects the health and safety of Queensland coal mine workers by ensuring they undergo periodic health assessments. The scheme is regulated under Chapter 2, Part 6, Division 2 of the Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2017.

Coal mine workers are required to undergo a Coal Board Medical prior to commencing employment at a coal mine. Thereafter, the medical is required at least once every five years during employment provided they remain with the same employer. If your employee is new to the industry, an ILO chest x-ray is required alongside the medical to access site. A drug and alcohol test is not included in the medical, however can be added if this is a site requirement.

Employers will be required to nominate KINNECT’s AMA (appointed medical adviser) to complete Coal Board Medicals. This nomination will then be lodged with the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.

A CMWHS is comprised of 4 sections as outlined below:

  • Section 1 is completed by the employer. This section includes details about similar exposure groups, the worker’s position, the employer and the AMA.
  • Section 2 is completed by the worker. This section includes details about the worker and their medical history.
  • Section 3 is completed by the examining medical officer and is the results of all clinical findings (e.g. medical examination, hearing, vision and lung function test).
  • Section 4 is the health assessment report. This document is completed and signed by the AMA and details the worker’s fitness and any further reviews that are required.

Sections 1, 2 and 3 must be fully completed prior to a section 4 being issued. Additionally, the results of section 2 and 3 cannot be released to an employer without prior consent from the employee.

Coal Board Medical Miner

Queensland Coal Board Medical

KINNECT can co-ordinate Coal Board Medicals at the following select locations:

  • Airlie Beach
  • Blackwater
  • Boolaroo
  • Browns Plains
  • Bundaberg
  • Burleigh Heads
  • Cranbrook
  • Edgeworth
  • Eli Waters
  • Emerald
  • Geebung
  • Gladstone
  • Gympie
  • Hawthorn
  • Maclean
  • Maroochydore
  • Moranbah
  • North Mackay
  • Rockhampton
  • Singleton
  • Sydney
  • Theodore
  • Waterloo
  • Windsor

Frequently Asked Questions

A standard Coal Board Medical includes:

  • Vision test
  • Spirometry test
  • Respiratory questionnaire
  • Urinalysis
  • Hearing test
  • Auditory canal examination
  • Cardiovascular system examination
  • Musculoskeletal system examination
  • Abdomen examination
  • Skin examination
  • Medical history questionnaire
  • ILO chest x-ray (only required if not completed prior or previous x-ray is over 5 years old). KINNECT ensures all chest x-rays are reported on by a clinical radiologist who is experienced in detecting pneumoconiosis.

Please note that a drug and alcohol test is not included, however some mines may require one prior to accessing site. An instant drug and alcohol test can be added to a Coal Board Medical (additional charges apply).

A Coal Board Medical ensures that miners receive an early diagnosis for any lung disease, including pneumoconiosis.

Once the medical has been completed, an appointed medical adviser (AMA) completes a fitness summary report, called a ‘section 4’. The section 4 is the only information from the Coal Board Medical that the employer is privy to. The medical information contained within the results is protected by legislation and can only be released if approved by the employee. The medical information is submitted to the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy for record-keeping.

The section 4 lists the employee’s details along with an outcome of either fit, fit with restrictions or unfit.

Employers must ensure that Coal Board Medicals are completed on every new employee intended to work at a coal mine. A Coal Board Medical is valid for five years provided the worker remains employed with the same company. If a coal mine worker changes employers, a new Coal Board Medical is required.

Please note that anyone recovering from an injury should not undertake a Coal Board Medical until their condition is stable.

Pneumoconiosis is a series of diseases caused by the inhalation of organic or inorganic dusts or chemical irritants. Typically, the disease occurs from exposure over a prolonged period of time. The type and severity of the disease depends on the composition of the dust. Small particles such as silica, asbestos and coal are more harmful than other irritants.

Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis (CWP), or ‘Black Lung’, is a chronic occupational lung disease caused by long-term inhalation of coal dust. CWP causes inflammation of the alveoli, eventually resulting in irreversible damage to the lungs. Alveoli are tiny sacs within our lungs that allow oxygen and carbon dioxide to move between the lungs and bloodstream. CWP ranges in severity from simple to advanced, with progressive massive fibrosis (PMF) the most severe form. Advanced CWP is debilitating and often fatal.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is an agency appointed by the United Nations to oversee labour standards and rights. Based in the United States, the ILO has been responsible for publishing chest x-ray classification guidelines for pneumoconiosis since 1950. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide a means to describe and codify abnormalities consistent with pneumoconiosis.

In 1974, health surveillance programs for coal miners revealed unacceptable degrees of variability and quality issues in chest x-ray reporting. This variability led to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to develop the B reader program. The program aimed to train and certify radiographers in the ILO classification. Since then, only certified physicians are able to provide a final determination on a chest x-ray screening for pneumoconiosis. The final determination takes into account any characteristics of occupational lung disease which can otherwise be confused for similar conditions. This similarity in abnormalities requires a certified B reader to be able to distinguish and diagnose the correct disease.

In Australia, CWP was thought to have been eradicated until a retired miner from Queensland was diagnosed in 2015. Due to this incident, the Queensland Government mandated sending coal worker chest x-rays to NIOSH for a B read. In early 2017, the first Australian B readers were certified. Subsequently, as of 1 March 2019, all ILO chest x-rays remain in Australia for reporting purposes. They are sent to a company of qualified radiographers called Lungscreen.

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that each person they employ or intend to employ completes a health assessment. A worker is not able to undertake a health assessment privately without an employer or intended employer. If you are hiring for a position that requires a CMWHS, an applicant is unable to obtain one prior to applying. It is also the employer’s responsibility to pay for the health assessment and any reviews required for completion (e.g. CT scans, respiratory physician assessments). The employer is not responsible to pay for any treatment that may be required after the section 4 has been issued.

If a health problem is identified in the CMWHS, the appointed medical adviser (AMA) may sign off as fit with restrictions. The restrictions detailed in the section 4 are designed to minimise the worker’s risk for further injury or illness. If your employee is fit with restrictions, this does not mean they should be precluded from working. It is up to the employer’s discretion on whether they are able to accommodate the worker’s restriction.

If your employee requires a medical review it will be listed on the section 4 under 4.3 (Fitness for duty). 4.3c/d will provide the due date of the medical review and what is to be assessed. Please note that your employee will have trouble accessing site if the review is not completed by the due date.

Please contact our health surveillance department on 07 3999 9395 if the review date is upcoming. Our health surveillance officers will explain the review process to both yourself and your employee.

Unfortunately we are unable to facilitate an employer name change. Every employee must complete a new CMWHS each time they change employers. A previous ILO chest x-ray and B-reader result may be used if it is less than 5 years old.

This can be arranged if you are able to provide evidence of the employee’s section 4 listed under your company name. We would also require a release form signed by your employee. You must notify the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) for our AMA’s to manage existing medicals. Only an AMA appointed in writing by your company can complete and sign your employee’s section 4. If you have not appointed KINNECT’s AMA’s, we will ask you to fill out a brief form in order to have this completed. We will submit this form to the DNRME on your behalf. Please note that fees apply for this service.

Please contact our health surveillance department on 07 3999 9395 for assistance with notifying the DNRME and obtaining release forms.

We can release results to another medical provider as long as the employee has provided written consent. Please contact our health surveillance department on 07 3999 9395 to request a release form. This form will need to be signed by your employee.

Standard 11 Mining Inductions

KINNECT Training provides mining induction courses that align with the Resources Training Council (formerly the Resource Industry Skills Association – RISA). These courses meet the Standard 11 requirements for new and experienced mine workers.

Mining Induction – Surface (Standard 11)

This program introduces the underpinning principles behind understanding risk and working safely in the mine environment.

This is a highly interactive program where participants will be required to undertake classroom activities like observations, written and group assessments.

Note: It is recommended that you check your specific site induction requirements to confirm all the activities needed to access site. 

  • 2 day course (face to face)
  • 7:30am – 4:30 pm
  • Brisbane, Gold Coast, Rockhampton, Mackay

View Course Dates

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Contact KINNECT to discuss our QLD Coal Board Medical Services further.

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