Overweight miners stood down

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A number of overweight miners have been stood down from a Bowen Basin mine and told their weight must be less than 120kg before they can return to work.

According to the Daily Mercury the Queensland Resources Council said the restrictions were commonplace in the industry but the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation denied there were weight restrictions.

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 told the Daily Mercury 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".

Accredited dietitian Kate Fleming, who has worked on health and eating habits with mining companies in the Pilbara, told Australian Mining the challenges of fly-in fly-out work sometimes contributed to unhealthy lifestyles.

She said the long shifts demanded by companies for some workers also made it hard for miners to stay healthy.

"Some of the challenges with mining workers include the very long shifts that leave people exhausted and with little interest or energy to be active," she said.

But Fleming said most mining companies had strong health policies and employee health was ultimately a "responsibility for the individual".

She said education played a big role in helping workers made "smart decisions" about their health.

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