OPINION: Mine worker mobile health unit arrives at major milestone

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Less than a year after being launched the Queensland Government-funded mobile health unit has checked its 500th worker.

The state-of-the-art Queensland-built truck named HEART 5 – operated by Heart of Australia and jointly funded by the Queensland Government – was launched in February last year.

It’s an incredibly important service which runs health assessments for former and current mine and quarry workers throughout Queensland.

Since its launch HEART 5 has been to 26 regional towns, from Cloncurry in the north to Ipswich in the south.

In December last year in Ipswich the 500th worker was checked by the mobile health unit which was a huge milestone.

I’m proud to say that during this time it has travelled more than 45,000km, providing more than 1300 health assessment services for current and former mine and quarry workers along with performing more than 250 CT scans.

HEART 5 has shown that bringing lifesaving lung checks right to the doorsteps of regional and remote resources communities helps detect disease earlier.

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If mine dust lung diseases such as silicosis and coal workers’ pneumoconiosis are detected early, it can reduce the risk of disease progression which helps maintain quality of life and gets workers access to support sooner.

Our commitment to the safety of mine and quarry workers’ safety is absolute.

As a government we have implemented the toughest mine safety laws in the world, lowered allowable levels of dust exposure, prescribed requirements for monitoring and reporting, and enhanced health surveillance across the mining sector.

The delivery of the vehicle is part of the Government’s response to the recommendations made by the Black Lung, White Lies report.

We’re proud to have HEART 5 on the road helping to uphold our high standards for health and safety in the resources sector, and our government will continue to support workers, on and off the job site.

HEART 5’s extensive suite of essential health services, including respiratory examinations, give Queensland’s regional mine and quarry workers, medical providers, and industry, greater access to a range of important, high quality medical equipment and expertise.

Our resources workforce is mostly based in regional Queensland so that’s why this mobile service is so important.

It was built to withstand the rigors of regional travel and will continue to provide reliable, high-quality medical diagnostic information to those that need it.

I know people, particularly some of our retired miners may not put health at the top of their list which is why this mobile service is so important.

There would be some people out there who might never have used a service like this before and if we can bring it to them directly it is important.

As a government we are proud to work with Heart of Australia and Resources Safety and Health Queensland to deliver this better service for our resources communities.

The safety of workers is and always will be my number one priority.

Scott Stewart MP

Queensland Minister for Resources

Retired or former Queensland mine or quarry workers can contact the Mine Dust Health Support Service on 1300 445 715 to discuss eligibility and arrange a free lung health check on HEART 5, or at an approved clinic. 

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