Protecting Coal Workers: Adhering to Order 43

In 2011, the NSW Coal Mining Health and Safety Scheme introduced Order 41—a set of guidelines aimed to protect the safety of coal workers. Since then, employers have relied on it for the monitoring of employment health. However, some coal workers recently caught Pneumoconiosis, a dangerous lung disease. This prompted the Coal Services Board to make some changes to the Order 41, which is now officially called as Order 43.

The catalyst that led to Order 43

The Pneumoconiosis is more than a dust-related chest infection. Often known as an occupational disease, Pneumoconiosis has no cure. A person is vulnerable to Pneumoconiosis once he or she…

  • …drills into a rock during mining.
  • …works with insulation or roofing materials with Asbestos.
  • …works with materials that contain Silica, Talc, or Beryllium.

The most commonly known type of Pneumoconiosis is the Coal Worker’s Pneumoconiosis (CWP). When cases of CWP in New South Wales rose, the authorities reviewed the health surveillance practices of Order 41. Consequently, they came up with a set of recommendations which were integrated into the Order 43’s regulations.

What new things does the Order 43 bring?

The frequency of chest x-rays

Chest x-rays are crucial preventative measures against dust-related lung diseases. With Order 43, coal workers are now required to undergo chest x-rays every three years. This applies to both open cut and underground workers who process, produce, and maintain coal. As for other types of employees, they must undergo chest x-rays every six years.

Respiratory FIT-testing

Another proactive measure against lung diseases is learning how to use protective equipment. Respiratory FIT-testing checks if a respirator properly fits a worker’s face. A viable respirator’s fitting characteristic is when a mask correctly separates the wearer’s respiratory system from the air.

Exit medicals for retiring workers

As for coal workers who are retiring or resigning, they are required to undergo exit medicals. This is crucial for high-risk industries that work with chemicals, dust, or noise. The exit medical assessments ensure that you and your worker are covered once the latter’s contract ends. If one of your employees wants to resign, must tap a licensed medical practitioner to oversee the exit medical.

Medical practitioners trained in the field

To ensure the assessment’s quality, the medical practitioner performing the test must be an expert in the coal mining field, as well. Thus, a medical practitioner must be formally trained in the coal-mining environment. This makes sense, as their experience in the field and in-depth knowledge of the industry’s nature can give them an advantage. They can arguably provide a more valuable insight into the overseeing health assessments.

Your growing workforce’s health is imperative—not only to your productivity as a company but also to your humanity. Being nonchalant with your health assessments and training programs should not even be an option. If you need help regarding Order 43 assessments, injury classification, or medical management, check out Resile.

Why Resile?

Resile is an expert in health assessments and regulations in Australia. With their workforce health management expertise, they can help you manage your employees’ wellbeing in a cost-effective and humane way. Visit their website to know more about their services: https://resile.com.au/order-43/.