Health and Safety CONFERENCE

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Managing Reported Chronic Occupational Lung Disorders

Assoc. Prof. John Schneider
Occupational Physician, James Cook University, Mackay Clinical Campus

Increasing awareness of workplace dust exposure due to media reporting of pneumoconioses such as “black lung” and silicosis, has resulted in increased health surveillance, radiological investigation and notification of possible work related lung disorders. The most common chronic lung condition associated with significant occupational dust exposure however, are not the pneumoconiosis.

Subsequent decisions associated with the workers continuing employment can pose problems in both human resource and occupational health supervision and management. The reporting of changes in pulmonary imaging do not necessarily need to result in departure from the industry. With comprehensive medical management including Pulmonary Rehabilitation if necessary, and coordinated Pulmonary Protection programs involving both the workplace and treating medical practitioner many workers can continue to work productively within the industry until retirement.</p .

The presentation will consider managing the health and workplace risks associated with continued employment of workers reported with positive health surveillance findings, including:-

  • Work Related Lung Disorders
  • Current dilemmas in employment management
  • Interpretation and significance of medical reports
  • Assessment and importance of lung function
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation
  • Fitness for Work
  • Occupational Rehabilitation
  • Pulmonary Protection Programs
    • Risk management
    • Control of hazardous work exposures
    • Medical involvement in health management