Earthmoving News, Workplace Health & Safety

Free lung checks for former quarry and mine workers

Heart of Australia’s mobile health truck HEART5 will be in Cairns this month, offering free lung health checks for previous workers in the mineral processing industries

Former and retired Queensland mine and quarry workers in Cairns are being urged to sign up for a free lung check when the mobile health truck ‘HEART5’ visits this month.

HEART5 is fully equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment to detect mine dust lung diseases like black lung and silicosis.

The truck will be stationed outside the Cairns Convention Centre on Tuesday 27 February for testing, to coincide with the Global Occupational Lung Diseases and Other Illnesses Conference 2024 being held at the Convention Centre from February 26–29.

The free service is operated by Heart of Australia in partnership with the independent regulator for the mining industry, Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ), and the Queensland government.

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The HEART5 mobile health unit will be in Cairns on February 27. Image: Heart of Australia

Since HEART5 began operating in February 2022, it has travelled over 80,000 kilometres and administered more than 870 free lung checks across regional Queensland.

RSHQ’s director of the Health Surveillance Unit Evan Pengelly says the tests are important because mine dust lung diseases can take up to 10 years or more to develop, and even longer to produce noticeable symptoms.

“We know that prevention is the best defence, however, identifying the disease in its early stages can prevent it from progressing to a point where it seriously impacts your quality of life,” Pengelly says.

“I strongly urge all former Queensland mine and quarry workers to get a free lung check.”

Applicants must no longer work in the industry, and have at least three years’ experience in coal mines, mineral mines, or quarries.

Former workers are entitled to one free check at least every five years, which are also available at local RSHQ-approved doctors.

Bookings are essential and can be made through the Mine Dust Health Support Service by emailing or calling 1300 445 715.

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