The Coal Board Medical is a medical assessment as required by the Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme. Every coal mining company must ensure that a health assessment is carried out for each person who is to be offered employment, or is already employed, as a coal mine worker.
The assessment is performed by Nominated Medical Advisers in accordance with a departmental medical assessment form. These doctors can also be nominated by a mining company or employer.
The coal board medical assessment must be carried out before the person is employed as a coal mine worker and periodically thereafter. However, a complete assessment must be performed at least once every five years while still employed as a coal mine worker.
Contrary to the purpose of Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme, (to track the health of existing workers) many employers and employment agencies are insisting that prospective employees obtain medicals prior to employment.
Interim Medical Assessment
To help with this issue, the Health Surveillance Unit has created an interim medical assessment report form that can be used by doctors when assessing personnel who are not yet in the industry.
This report can then be used to indicate the level of fitness required to gain employment as a coal mine worker; however, it does not replace an actual Coal Board Medical.
What is the basic process of undertaking a Coal Board Medical examination?
According to one medical clinic that completes Coal Board Medical Forms, you should expect to set aside 1 hour to complete the examination. This is just an estimate and could be more or less time.
The Coal Board Medical Form has 4 sections:
Section 1 – Employer to complete
It asks basic questions about the condition in which you could be expected to work.
Answers here will be “Yes”or “No” and include such questions as:
- Is the coal mine worker at risk from dust exposure (X-ray needed)?
- Is the worker at risk from occupational noise?
- Are there hazardous duties requiring a specific fitness assessment?
Section 2 – Coal Mine Worker to complete
Along with wanting to know when previous vaccinations and blood tests were administered, this section asks about your health related history. As in Section 1, nothing too complicated here. Just tick the boxes corresponding to your answers which will be either “Yes”or “No”.
You’ll be asked questions like:
- Have you ever had an illness or operation that has prevented you from undertaking your normal duties for more than two weeks?
- Do you currently smoke, or have you ever smoked?
- Have you had chest pain, angina or tightness in chest?
- Do you suffer from blackouts, fits or epilepsy?
- Have you had back or neck pain which has prevented you from undertaking full duties?
You’ll also be asked about your employment history. All that’s needed here is years worked, job title, and employer.
At completion of Section 2 there is a Coal Mine Worker’s Declaration (to be witnessed by Examining Medical Officer).
You sign to agree the information you have supplied is true. The Doctor signs as a witness.
Section 3 – Clinical Findings – Examining Medical Officer to complete
The doctor will examine the following:
- Cardiovascular System
- Respiratory system
- Musculo-skeletal system
- Urinalysis and Blood Sugar
Toward the end of Section 3 the doctor answers two important questions:
- Is the worker’s fitness for duty likely to be affected by any of the following?
- Is there any reason why the worker may not be fit for duty in relation to coal mine work?
In case you’re worried, some condition may affect your opportunity of employment, these questions are actually good news. It’s a chance for the doctor to say “Yes” this person has a certain condition; however, this condition(s) is unlikely to affect his or her ability to perform their duties.
Approved Form – Section 4 – Health Assessment Report
Section 4 more or less the “Office Use Only” section of the form. It answers one important question. Are you fit for work or not?
There is an area provided where you can be determined fit for work but with certain restrictions. What these might be and the limitations that could be set is anyone’s guess.
This report is forwarded to your employer.
Undergoing a Coal Board Medical will prove to employers you are fit to work and you are willing to invest your own money
You should get a Coal Board Medical if:
- You want to improve your application when applying for mining jobs.
- You have received an offer of employment from a mining company.
- You have a disability that might affect your ability to get a job in the mines.
Coal Board Medicals usually cost between $290 and $395 and sometimes include a drug and alcohol screen.
IMPORTANT: A standard medical can include:
- Top-to-toe examination by a Doctor.
- Hearing test (Audiometry).
- Lung Function test (Spirometry).
- Urine test for blood, protein, etc, (this is NOT a drug screen).
The standard medical DOES NOT include:
- Extra examination items for Mines Rescue role.
- Blood tests.
- Occupational Vaccinations.
- Drug and alcohol screen.
- Chest X-ray.
Pricing for extra examinations that may not be included in the coal board medical
As a guide, here is an overview of what you could expect to pay for additional tests.
- Drug & Alcohol - $100 (prices may vary – depending on which state you are taking the D&A test)
- Section 4 – $95 (for anyone that has a job to go to or a company booking. Prices may vary – depending on which state you undertaking your medical)
- X-ray – $100 (prices may vary – depending on which state you are taking the X-ray)
Please Note: Prices may vary – depending on which state (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania) you undertaking your medical.
As iMINCO is an information provider and not an RTO, we utilise the extensive training and industry experience of Industry Pathways (NPN:32513), who are a leading provider of mining training.