Free lung checks return to Rockhampton | Resources Safety & Health Queensland Skip to content

Free lung checks return to Rockhampton

19 March 2024

N.B. Bookings are essential for this service. RSHQ kindly asks that media promote the following line when writing stories: "To book, call the Mine Dust Health Support Service on 1300 445 715" or link to this website: Contact | Miners' health matters (rshq.qld.gov.au).

Former and retired Queensland mine and quarry workers are being urged to sign up for a free lung check when the Mobile Health Unit HEART5 returns to Rockhampton from 3-4 April.  

Retired Queensland miner Glenn Hank is living proof that a free lung check can change your life.  

One year ago, he noticed some worrying symptoms and decided to get tested.  

"I was pushing the mower around and getting shortness of breath," said Mr Hank. 

"I can't do a lot of things that I used to be able to do." 

The 59-year-old was tested on board the HEART5 truck one year ago, and was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a mine dust lung disease attributed to 20 years of working in Queensland coal and mineral mines.  

"My experience on the HEART5 truck was excellent," he said. 

"If the truck is around and you can get to it, bloody go for sure." 

"Have the test just to be on the safe side." 

The B-double truck is fully fitted with state-of-the-art medical equipment to detect mine dust lung diseases like black lung and silicosis, and free testing is available to former Queensland mine and quarry workers.   

HEART5, operated by Heart of Australia in partnership with Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ), travels around the state providing these important tests that aren't always easily accessible in regional and remote locations.  

Appointments for a free check can also be booked at local RSHQ approved doctors. 

"We know mine dust lung diseases can take 10 years or more to develop, so many former workers may not have symptoms or be aware they have a disease," said RSHQ's Director of Health Strategy and Compliance Patrick Jensen.  

"Come forward and get tested because there could be treatment available, and you may be entitled to compensation. 

"It costs you nothing, just time. " 

Mr Hank's 9-year-old granddaughter, Kira Margetts, said it makes her sad when she hears her granddad cough, but she's glad he's getting help.  

The retired miner received workers’ compensation, and has been able to access ongoing treatment.  

Little Kira has a message for other former Queensland miners: "I think you should come get tested because it really helps." 

Free lung checks are available to those who have at least three years’ experience in Queensland coal mines, minerals mines or quarries and are no longer working in the industry. 

Upcoming 'HEART5' dates and locations: 

  • Kershaw Gardens Carpark, Knight Street, Rockhampton: 3-4 April 2024

HEART5 fast facts: 

  • Launched in February 2022.
  • More than 86,000 kilometres travelled.
  • More than 950 free lung checks administered.
  • More than 90 retired miners diagnosed.
  • HEART5 includes a CT scanner, chest x-ray, and spirometry testing.
  • The truck is operated by Heart of Australia in partnership with RSHQ.

VISION AND GRABS: HERE

ENDS

Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) is the regulator of safety and health legislation across Queensland’s mining, quarrying, explosives (including fireworks) petroleum and gas industries. RSHQ’s priority is the safety and health of workers and the communities they operate in, with a vision of zero serious harm.

Media contact

Amy McCann

0457 094 250

media@rshq.qld.gov.au


Last updated: 19 Mar 2024