WorkCover Queensland and the Office of Industrial Relations (OIR) are conducting a search for researchers specialising in silicosis lung disease, to help identify the most effective return to work and vocational rehabilitation support practices for workers with this condition.
This initiative, believed to be the first of its type in Australia, follows safety audits of engineered stone fabrication businesses across Queensland and intensive lung screening, treatment and rehabilitation support for 92 stonemasons who have lodged injury claims related to silicosis.
With a spike in silicosis cases across Australia and the need for medical guidelines for diagnosing, treating and supporting workers with significant exposure to silica dust, urgent research into effective return to work support practices is a positive advancement for silicosis sufferers,
WorkCover CEO, Bruce Watson said it is critical that workers with silicosis who are still of working age and are supported by their treating doctors, have the opportunity to safely return to work and get on with their lives.
“Supporting this research into best practice vocational rehabilitation support is important because we understand that many workers and their families still have unanswered questions about this terrible disease,” Mr Watson said.
“In partnership with OIR, WorkCover plans to expand research into rehabilitation support to ensure workers suffering from this disease receive expert medical care and have access to meaningful employment.”
WorkCover and OIR will invite expressions of interest applications from 13 February to 13 March 2019.
Expression of interest submissions for research into return to work and vocational rehabilitation support for workers suffering from silicosis must be made via the Queensland Government QTenders website.
Research findings will identify factors, principles or limitations that need to be considered in designing tailored return to work plans for workers with silicosis to ensure they achieve a safe and timely return to work.
As at 1 February 2019, WorkCover is helping 775 people who have requested health screens and supporting 92 workers who have been diagnosed with silicosis.
For information on the support WorkCover and OIR are providing to workers in the Queensland engineered stone benchtop industry, visit our website.