The hosts missed a huge chance to gain vital ground as they struggle to stay afloat in the Premier League, with Richard Dunne having a second-half strike ruled out for offside
Austin's spot-kick - which was just too close to Adrian - proved to be QPR's golden opportunity in a game otherwise devoid of clear-cut chances, as Chris Ramsey's side slipped four points off safety.
Wins for fellow strugglers Hull City and Leicester City compounded the result but it could have been so different had the hosts capitalised on the penalty - awarded when Bobby Zamora's prodded ball struck James Collins on the hand.
However, Adrian - who was excellent throughout - got down to make the save and, though QPR were the better side after the interval, there was to be no breakthrough.
|VIEW FROM LOFTUS ROAD
|By Greg Lea
QPR huffed, puffed and huffed some more but just could not make the breakthrough at Loftus Road against a stubborn West Ham side. Charlie Austin missed a first-half penalty and Richard Dunne had a goal disallowed after the break, with Aaron Cresswell also going close for the visitors with a superb free kick.
It's a point that's not much use for Chris Ramsey's side: with Leicester City and Hull City both winning, it will take a massive effort if Premier League football is to be played in this part of west London next season.
West Ham were unable to sink their London rivals further into the mire, as their own late-season malaise continued, with Ramsey's men further frustrated going into their final four games when Richard Dunne's header was disallowed late on.
In a frenetic start, Sandro tested Adrian at his near post after just two minutes, while Enner Valencia went close after a break at the other end.
Reece Burke then almost made a dream start to his Premier League debut with a header cleared off the line by Nedum Onuoha.
As the pace of the game slowed, chances proved few and far between until Collins handled inside the area before the half-hour mark.
However, the West Ham defender was bailed out by his goalkeeper as Adrian got down to save Austin's straight, driven penalty with his legs and keep the scores level.
QPR continued to apply pressure and Zamora should have made Adrian work harder early in the second but the striker could only side-foot tamely at the Spaniard.
Opposite number Green was called on to palm Cresswell's free kick over the crossbar, while Sandro and Zamora both flashed shots off target before the hour at the other end.
Stewart Downing almost finished off a quick break but Green got to the ball first - Sam Allardyce's side able to offer a reminder of the attacking form on show in the early stages of the season.
The sight of Leroy Fer - making his first appearance since February following a knee problem - will have buoyed the Loftus Road faithful, who were denied a late winner when Dunne's goal was chalked off for a foul on Adrian.
QPR continued to press, with Karl Henry shooting powerfully at the target before Onuoha's dangerous cross eluded his team-mates in the box, while there was still time for the impressive Adrian to keep out Matt Phillips's long-range drive.