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A reduction of the allowable limits for respirable coal and silica dust in Queensland has taken effect.

The limit for respirable coal dust has been cut from 2.5 milligrams per cubic metres down to 1.5 milligrams.

The allowable limit for silica dust has also been lowered from one milligram per cubic metre to 0.05 milligrams.

This move follows a nationwide review by Safework Australia and applies to all the state’s metalliferous mine and quarry workers.

Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said the protections were the latest in a suite of reforms to protect the health and safety of the state’s resources workers.

“Every Queensland worker has the right to a healthy career and life free of occupational disease,” Lynham said.

“And the most important resource to come off a mine site every day is a worker.

“Queensland now has the toughest mine safety and health laws in the world – including the offence of industrial manslaughter.”

Every metalliferous mine and quarry worker is also subject to free, mandatory lung health checks.

This provides mineral mine and quarry workers with the same health checks as their 37,000 coal mining counterparts who already have free, mandatory respiratory health screening.

It starts once they enter the industry and at least once every five years during their career.

The workers are also entitled to free respiratory health checks for life.