Lung Disease on the Rise

A report on Occupational lung diseases in Australia has been published by Safe Work Australia. The report, prepared by the Monash Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, shows that diseases like pneumoconiosis and silicosis, are still on the rise.

The report provides an overview of occupational lung diseases in Australia and identifies industries and occupations where workers may be at risk, 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.

Occupational lung diseases in Australia 2006–2019 shows that occupational lung diseases continue to be a health concern in Australia and substantially contribute to the burden of lung disease.

Findings from the report will inform the implementation of Safe Work Australia’s occupational lung diseases work plan and national policy to address occupational lung diseases.