Australia has identified a significant incidence of disease in workers exposed to dust from high silica content engineered stone. Imaging has a central role in the diagnosis and monitoring of occupational lung diseases including disease resulting from exposure to engineered stone. Whilst there have been no reported cases in New Zealand, similar patterns of disease are anticipated due to similar products being used across both countries.
Engineered stone workers may present for chest imaging as part of screening programs or undergo imaging for unrelated reasons including in community or hospital settings. Clinical radiologists are encouraged to raise general awareness amongst community and hospital health care providers of the importance of including information about occupational and non-occupational exposures associated with an increased risk for lung disease in the clinical details provided on referrals for imaging.
Preliminary data has identified that chest x-ray has limited sensitivity for detecting occupational lung disease in workers exposed to high silica content engineered stone. A broad spectrum of interstitial lung abnormalities have been identified on CT in engineered stone workers, including subtle findings such as small ground glass attenuation nodules. CT is strongly recommended for screening all workers exposed to dust from engineered stone.
Lung Dust Diseases also in includes Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis (CWP)
Coal Services Health Monitoring Requirements for Coal Mine Workers Order No. 43 (Order 43) builds on the processes and systems that were established under Order 41 to protect the health and safety of workers in the NSW coal industry. Order 43 officially replaces Order 41, and any associated schedules, on 1 July 2018.
You don’t have to have been an underground coal miner to get CWP. Anyone who has been a worker in an industry that involved mining (underground or open cut), loading, transporting or otherwise dealing with coal can be at risk.
If you believe you may be experiencing symptoms relating to coal workers' pneumoconiosis, please see your doctor and call WorkCover Queensland on 1300 362 128 or your self-insured employer to discuss your condition.
If you are a former or retired Queensland coal worker and concerned you may have a coal mine dust lung disease such as CWP or silicosis you may be eligible for a free lung disease examination.
Full details on the imaging technique and report recommendations please refer to RANZCR’s Imaging of Occupational Lung Disease Position Statement.
If you are interested and have the expertise to be included on RANZCR’s Experts in Occupational Dust Lung Disease List (EODLD) please contact the Standards Unit.
The list is made available to employers of workers at risk of CWP as an expert in identification of Occupational Lung Dust Disease.
SafeWork Australia – Health Monitoring Guidance – Crystalline Silica published February 2020