For any business, it is important to ensure that your employees are at their optimum health to function efficiently. And, occupational health is even more important in industries, like coal mining. Due to the hazardous nature of this sector, you should conduct health assessments from time to time to see that each of your workers is fit to work. This is where the help of a nominated medical advisor (NMA) is useful. Generally speaking, this health professional oversees medical assessments required under the Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme of Queensland (CMWHS) top prevent and detect work-related illnesses.
This is how health assessments with an NMA in Queensland work:
When are assessments conducted?
Typically, occupational health assessments in the mining industry are required before an individual starts to work or when they change employers. However, the NMA would decide to conduct these tests at other times. For example, they would deem an assessment necessary when they receive a notice under Section 49 of the Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2017 (CMSHR 2017) to conduct it.
On your part as an employer, you can also notify your NMA when your miners are given a classification of injury that their level of health risk has increased significantly.
How do you start processing these assessments?
First of all, you are the one to arrange and pay for these health assessments. The cost typically covers referrals, travel expenses, and of course, the tests involved, such as X-rays, respiratory tests, and CT scans.
With the finances taken care of, the NMA will then start conducting the assessment using the form provided by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) in accordance with the CMSHR 2017. They will complete section 4 of the form when all examinations and follow-up investigations are done.
What does the assessment involve?
Primarily, mining health assessments include a chest X-ray to detect lung diseases caused by coal mine dust, such as pneumoconiosis. B-readers accredited by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are the ones to read the images acquired from the test.
In case results identify abnormalities, the nominated medical advisor will conduct follow-up tests based on the CMWHS clinical pathways guideline and then refer workers to appropriate medical specialists.
However, there are also times that these assessments include other tests, such as CT scans and occupational drug testing.
Though not part of the assessments and NMA can also perform exit medicals.
How is an assessment completed?
The NMA is the one who will complete the assessment and then send only the forms, copies of the health assessment reports, and medical reports to the DNRME. However, the DNRME would also request the NMA to submit test results, such as X-ray images, in certain occasions.
Generally, the NMA is responsible for keeping all records and reviews associated with the assessments.
Work with a nominated medical advisor from Resile
As you can see, an NMA plays an important role in ensuring coal miners are at their optimum health. To conduct proper assessments, you should work with professionals who are trusted in this area. On that note, you can check out Resile. They have a team of physicians who can assist your mining company or organization in all aspects of occupational health using a multidisciplinary approach.
Contact them at https://resile.com.au/nominated-medical-adviser/