February 21, 2022
Campaigning by our Queensland District has resulted in the delivery of a $2 million state of the art mobile medical centre to detect and treat mine dust lung disease.
The ‘Heart 5’ is equipped with an x-ray machine and CT scanner and will travel through regional Queensland mining centres to support the early diagnosis of mine dust lung disease including Black Lung and silicosis in current and former mineworkers.
The mobile unit was launched in Brisbane on 11 February and will travel to mine sites and regional centres.
ISHR Jason Hill said the mobile health unit was a direct result of the Mining and Energy Union raising the alarm on the re-emergence of black lung in the Queensland coal industry and pressuring the Queensland Government for a comprehensive response.
“This shows what our union can achieve, to protect the health and safety of coal miners. The fight is not over. We need to make sure that the service is used in the way it is meant to and that workers get the full benefit from it.”
The union’s Black Lung Victims Group played an important role in advocating for the mobile health unit, along with other recommendations of the ‘Black Lung White Lies’ report.
“Our victims group are volunteers and retired members who understand the challenges facing regional mineworkers and the tragedies that occur when people slip through the net of an inadequate screening system,” said District President Stephen Smyth.
“Their persistence is to be congratulated. We have learnt that we can’t afford to take our foot off the pedal at any point and let mining company complacency and cost-cutting undermine workers’ safety. We’ll keep fighting for improvements in dust management and treatment and support for workers.”
The Heart 5’s first destination was the coal mining community of Collinsville.