New South Wales will introduce a new stricter exposure standard for coal dust two years ahead of a nationally agreed timetable, the Government has said.
Resources Minister John Barilaro said NSW would lower the coal dust respirable standard to 1.5mg oer cubic metre from February 1, 2021, which would help ensure the long-term health of coal miners and further reduce their risk of suffering coal workers' pneumoconiosis, known as "black lung" disease.
In both NSW and Queensland the current exposure standard is 2.5mg per cubic metre over eight hours.
NSW has had this level since 2004 while Queensland introduced it as an interim measure pending a Safe Work Australia review.
"Coal mining is vital to the economic prosperity of NSW and underpins the state's energy needs, and the NSW Government remains committed to ensuring the men and women who work in our coal mines go home safely each day," Mr Barilaro said.
State governments had agreed to implement the new coal dust respirable standard from December 2022.
Mr Barilaro said NSW would also introduce a stricter standard of 0.1mg/m3 for diesel particulate matter on February 1 next year.