Morbidly obese miner allowed back to work

A 163 kilogram, morbidly obese miner previously deemed unfit to operate machinery due to 'a significant risk' of a heart attack has had the ruling overturned.

A 163 kilogram, morbidly obese miner previously deemed unfit to operate machinery due to 'a significant risk' of a heart attack has had the ruling overturned.

The 47 year old man, who works at Curragh Coal mine, is 179 cm tall and weighs around 163 kg, giving him a massive BMI of 50.8, the Daily Mercury reports.

A healthy BMI range for adults is 18.5 to 24.9

A number of overweight miners were stood down earlier this year, and were told they must be less than 120kg before they could return tor work.

According to health experts three out of four miners are rated as obese or overweight.

A DEEDI spokesperson said regulations did not "impose minimum or maximum weights for persons working in the mining industry".

But they said legislation did require mines to ensure the safety and health of their workers.

The QRC stated that the coal industry "requires miners to undertake a medical assessment to confirm their fitness for work".

It said an employee's body mass index could become a factor in their work safety and all equipment had its "tolerance limits".

A health review on the newly reinstated obese worker noted his BMI as 'malignant', and that he had a 52cm neck circumference, which dramatically increases his chance of cardio-vascular disease.

The miner, only known as MBR, successfully fought the order suspending him from work.

The court previously stated that he was "unfit to operate due to a significant and foreseeable risk of sudden incapacity" under the Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation Act.

"Males with neck circumferences over 44cm were at a higher risk of sleep apnoea, a condition which makes them at increased risk of cardio-vascular disease."

However the case was overturned under the same act as it has now been found that Act is "not concerned with the risk of a worker developing an illness or other condition in the future".

Instead it relates to "fitness for work in the sense of ability and capacity to perform the tasks of the relevant position at the time of assessment.

"The act and the regulation are not concerned with the impossible task of avoiding all risk of injury, but with keeping risk to an acceptable level," the court found.

According to Diabetes Queensland CEO Michelle Trute, miners are at high risk of obesity.

“Where you’ve got a high proportion of shift workers and where you’ve got a high proportion of workers who don’t have a lot of opportunities throughout the day to move around and walk around – they’re the sort of things that are going to increase the likelihood of being obese,” she said.

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