Retired miners urged to get free lung health checks

Published Monday, 10 July, 2023 at 02:00 PM

Minister for Resources
The Honourable Scott Stewart

  • Former and retired Queensland mine and quarry workers are being encouraged to take advantage of free lung health checks to detect mine dust lung diseases.
  • The free lung health check program administered by Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ), provides a free check every five years, for life.
  • New figures show these checks are continuing to detect mine dust lung disease cases as more former and retired workers get tested.

In the last year the total number of mine dust lung disease cases for current and former workers diagnosed since 1984 has risen to 400.

The majority of new cases are former workers who have received a free lung health check from their local, RSHQ-approved doctor, or onboard Heart of Australia’s HEART 5 Mobile Health Unit.

The HEART 5 Mobile Health Unit was launched in February last year and was a commitment of the Palaszczuk Government.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Resources, Scott Stewart:

“We always want people to get tested because early detection is critical to enable people to access support and treatment sooner.

“More than 700 former workers who otherwise may not have gotten tested, have accessed a free lung health check through the program run by RSHQ.

“Since 2016, more than 150,000 chest X-rays have been completed for current and former workers.”

“I also want to thank the Mine Dust Victims Group for all the work they do to encourage people to get tested as well as their continued advocacy.”

Quotes attributable to Executive Director, Occupational Health, RSHQ, Dean Barr:

“Mine dust lung diseases can develop many years after workers retire from the industry, so ongoing checks are important.

“The checks include chest X-ray and spirometry, and when required, other follow-up investigations such as high-resolution CT scans.

“Our partnership with Heart of Australia to provide mobile lung checks has ensured the program delivers world class testing, while being even more accessible to regional and remote Queensland.”

Quotes attributable to former miner Mr Steve Carson, who has been diagnosed with silicosis:

“I had the attitude ‘it’s never going to happen to me’ – but it did and I’m grateful that they found it.

“It didn’t cost me one cent – they looked after me from start to finish.

“The important part is to find out because sometimes there’s things they can do if you’re in the early stages, but most importantly you know and can make informed decisions about what to do next.

“If you find out you’ve got a mine dust lung disease, don’t give up, don’t throw in the towel because there’s people out there that will help you.”

Further information:


Media contact – (Minister Stewart) Chris Lees, 0484 062 915

Resources Safety and Health Queensland –