A provider has been suspended over substandard black lung testing for coal miners. 

Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) has suspended an unnamed medical provider for failures in spirometry testing. 

The action comes as part of RSHQ's broader campaign to ensure high standards in medical screenings, particularly focusing on the quality of lung function tests vital for detecting conditions such as black lung disease.

The audit conducted by RSHQ revealed a concerning 30 per cent error rate in the spirometry tests performed by the provider in Mackay. 

The failure rate impacts many local coal miners, who have now been advised to undergo repeat testing. 

The deficiencies noted include improper conduct of the tests, failure to identify issues in the results, and incorrect interpretation due to inaccurate comments.

“We’re recommending all those affected workers undertake repeat spirometry tests,” says Patrick Jensen, RSHQ's Director of Health Strategy and Compliance.

“While we always work with medical providers to improve screening quality through education and advice, we don’t shy away from taking appropriate regulatory action where necessary to protect workers’ health and safety.”

The discovery of the testing inadequacies comes alongside the resurgence of black lung disease in Queensland, initially re-identified in 2015. 

Industry safety and health representative from the Mining and Energy Union, Jason Hill, has described the 30 per cent failure rate as “disgusting” and expressed concern for the health of workers in central Queensland. 

The union is calling for more independent doctors to run such tests, fearing a potential conflict of interest with company-hired medical personnel.