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Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis (CWP)

What is CWP?

Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis is a lung disease most often caused by breathing in coal dust over a long period of time. It’s also known as ‘black lung disease’.

It’s not only underground coal miners who can be affected. If you’ve been a worker in an industry that involves mining (underground or open cut) or dealing with coal in another way such as loading or transporting, you could be at risk.

CWP can affect people in different ways. It all depends on how long you’ve been exposed to coal dust, differences in the dust itself, and other factors unique to you.

Learn more about Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis (CWP)

You can also find out more about your employment and compensation rights (PDF, 0.12 MB) regarding CWP and other mine dust lung disease workers' compensation information (PDF, 0.22 MB).

What should I do if I think I’ve been affected?

If you’re a current coal mine worker, your health assessments are managed by your employer and the Coal Mine Workers Health Scheme.

If you’re a former or retired Queensland coal worker and you’re worried you might have CWP or you’re experiencing symptoms, you might be able to access a free lung check.

You’ll need to show that you:

  • worked in an industry involved in coal mining or dealing with coal in other ways (like loading or transporting); and
  • stopped working in that industry before January 2017; and
  • were exposed to coal dust at work for a period of time that adds up to six months or more.

How do I apply for a free lung check?

As BHP Group Limited and Glencore Queensland Ltd are both self-insured employers, you’ll need to contact them directly if you’ve worked for either organisation.

You can reach them on the numbers below to talk about how to access your free lung check.

  • BHP Group Limited Queensland Workers' Compensation 1800 247 927
  • Glencore Queensland Limited (07) 3833 8571 or Copper and Zinc Operations (07) 4744 2092

If you have worked for other organisations and want to apply for a free lung check through WorkCover Queensland, follow the simple steps below.

  • See your doctor and get a workers’ compensation medical certificate stating you’re a current or former coal worker and are worried you might be suffering from CWP. Your doctor may also refer you to get a plain chest x-ray.
  • Call WorkCover Queensland on 1300 362 128 to apply for a lung disease examination. You can also apply online by filling out an Application for a lung disease examination (PDF, 0.66 MB) and uploading it via our website along with your medical certificate).
  • Once we’ve received your application for a lung disease examination, we’ll review it within 20 business days and let you know whether you qualify.

What happens next?

If your application for a free lung check is approved:

  • we'll ask you to have a plain chest x-ray and arrange for it to be reviewed by an expert B-Reader (a doctor who is experienced in reviewing x-rays of pneumoconiosis)
  • we'll organise for you to see a respiratory doctor for complex lung function testing
  • that doctor will review your x-rays, expert B-read reviews, and lung function results and will provide a diagnosis
  • a report will be given to WorkCover within 10 business days.

What if I’m told I have CWP?

If your lung exam confirms you have a coal mine dust lung disease you may be eligible for compensation. WorkCover is here to support you during this challenging time.

Depending on your personal situation, you may be entitled to:

  • reimbursements for medical expenses
  • counselling support for you and your family
  • weekly compensation for normal weekly earnings, where applicable
  • return to work assistance, if applicable
  • lump sum compensation (this is dependent on your personal situation and can be discussed with your WorkCover contact)
  • financial hardship assistance.

Please contact the specialist team for CWP on 1300 362 128 if you have any further questions about CWP.

What is CWP?

Watch this video produced by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, answering the question - what is Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis (CWP)?

CMDLD prevention

Watch this video produced by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, discussing the prevention of coal mine dust lung diseases (CLDLD).

CMDLD detection

Watch this video produced by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, discussing the detection of coal mine dust lung diseases (CLDLD).

$5m medical research grant

The Queensland Government is continuing its nation-leading response for workers with occupational dust lung disease, particularly those with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) and silicosis, by offering a $5 million medical research grant over four years from 2021 to 2023.