The report provides an overview of occupational lung diseases in Australia and identifies industries and occupations where workers may be at risk of developing an occupational lung disease, such as the construction, mining and quarrying industries, and those working with engineered stone.
The report highlights several significant trends, including:
• a substantial increase in:
• pneumoconiosis, especially coal workers pneumoconiosis, and
• silicosis from working with engineered stone
• a decline in workers’ compensation claims for asbestos-related occupational lung diseases, such as asbestosis
• an increase in the understanding of the role of occupational exposure and the risk of developing coal workers pneumoconiosis, and
• an apparent decline in work-related asthma cases as evidenced by fewer compensation claims.
Overall, the report shows that occupational lung diseases continue to be a health concern in Australia and substantially contribute to the burden of lung disease. In particular, the report found:
• Further research is needed to identify incidence patterns of occupational lung diseases in high risk industries and occupations.
• Additional data collection and the thorough application of all data sources will assist in providing a comprehensive national perspective on occupational lung diseases.
Findings from the report will inform the implementation of Safe Work Australia’s occupational lung diseases work plan.
Occupational lung diseases in Australia 2006–2019 was prepared by the Monash Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health and presents changes in the extent and incidence of occupational lung diseases since the 2006 report Occupational respiratory disease in Australia.
22 October 2019
Safe Work Australia, 7 August 2020