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OCCUPATIONAL RESPIRATORY DISEASE SURVEILLANCE

New information on respiratory diseases in coal miners

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is preparing to expand its national program of health surveillance for coal miners. The health surveillance program is a longstanding NIOSH responsibility under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act. The action to expand the program is in response to new requirements for health surveillance in the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MHSA’s) recently-published final rule on controlling coal mine dust exposure. Under the existing program, periodic chest radiographs and occupational history questionnaires are provided to underground coal miners. The expanded surveillance program will provide periodic lung function testing (called spirometry) and respiratory health assessment questionnaires. It will also extend health surveillance to workers at surface coal mines. The Coal Miner Health Surveillance page provides more information on these changes.

Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP)

"The first priority and concern of all in the coal or other mining industry must be the health and safety of its most precious resource – the miner." (Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, amended 1977.)

Photo of a coal miner.

In accordance with the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MHSA’s) recently-published final rule on respirable coal mine dust exposure, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is expanding its national program of health surveillance for coal miners. The NIOSH Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP) was originally established by the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 and has been in operation since 1970. In the past, medical testing including periodic chest radiographs and occupational history questionnaires were only required for underground coal miners. The expanded program will also provide periodic lung function testing (called spirometry) and respiratory health assessment questionnaires and will extend health surveillance to workers at surface coal mines. On this page you will find information on the new requirements for Coal Miner Health Surveillance and detailed information for operators, facilities, and miners. The CWHSP consists of these components:

  1. Coal Workers' X-ray Surveillance Program (CWXSP)
    Information about free chest x-rays provided for underground coal miners. Who pays? What is Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis? Black Lung? When? Where? Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.
  2. Coal Workers' Spirometry Surveillance Program (CWSSP)
  3. NIOSH B Reader Program
    The B Reader Program aims to ensure competency in radiographic reading by evaluating the ability of readers to classify a test set of radiographs, thereby creating and maintaining a pool of qualified readers having the skills and ability to provide accurate and precise International Labor Office (ILO) classifications.
  4. Enhanced Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program

Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP) Data Query System

CWHSP Data Query System generates tables by Disease Severity Level and Disease Severity Prevalence, by demographic and geographical criteria for the total number of underground miners who participated in the CWHSP program.

Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP) Public Data

As part of its ongoing respiratory disease surveillance program, NIOSH publishes periodic updates on patterns, trends, distributions, and clusters of medical outcomes of concern. CWHSP Public Data serves to provide the underlying data from several publications.

Enhanced Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program (ECWHSP)

In light of the observed onset of advanced pneumoconiosis among younger coal miners, and the apparent regional clustering of rapidly progressive cases, NIOSH, in collaboration with MSHA, has developed, staffed, and implemented the Enhanced Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program (ECWHSP). This page contains more information about the program and survey summaries.

Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP) Forms

Coal Mine Operator's Plan
(OMB 0920-0020) (CDC/NIOSH 2.10) (June 2014)
The form and instructions should be used by underground coal mine operators' when submitting a plan for their miner's to receive chest x-rays at designated x-ray facilities. Coal mine operators must submit a plan and mine roster no later than 60 days after opening a new mine or 30 days when mine ownership is transferred. Mail to the address on the form or it may be emailed to CWHSP@cdc.gov.

Coal Contractor Plan Form
(OMB 0920-0020) (CDC/NIOSH 2.18) (August 2014)
Coal Contractor Plan Form Instructions
Contractors that employ workers at coal mines who are eligible for health surveillance should use this form to file their Mine Plans. Eligible employees are those who require MSHA Part 48 miner training. Contractors do not need to indicate at which mines they are operating, and should indicate the number of miles by road from the location of the contractor to the X-Ray Facility(ies). Mail to the address on the form or it may be emailed to CWHSP@cdc.gov.

Radiographic Facility Certification Form
(OMB 0920-0020) (CDC/NIOSH 2.11) (May 2012)
X-ray facilities should use this form to apply for certification and approval to take x-rays as part of the NIOSH program. Mail to the address on the form or it may be emailed to CWHSP@cdc.gov.

Spirometry Facility Certification Form
(OMB 0920-0020) (CDC/NIOSH 2.14) (August 2014)
Complete this form to request to become a NIOSH-Approved Spirometry Facility. Mail to the address on the form or it may be emailed to CWHSP@cdc.gov.

Interpreting Physician Certification Document
(OMB 0920-0020) (CDC/NIOSH 2.12) (December 2013)
Physicians should complete this form to apply to take the NIOSH B Reader examination. Mail to the address on the form. Do NOT send this form electronically to NIOSH.

Miner Identification Form
En español
(OMB 0920-0020) (CDC/NIOSH 2.9) (December 2009)
This form must be completed by the miner and accompany all x-rays sent to NIOSH for interpretation as part of the Coal Workers' X-ray Surveillance Program. Mail to the address on the form. Do NOT send this form electronically to NIOSH. Print/Copy as a double-sided form.

Chest Radiograph Classification Form (For official government use only)
(OMB 0920-0020) (CDC/NIOSH 2.8) (June 2014)
This form must be completed by the A or B Reader that interprets a chest radiograph for NIOSH as part of the Coal Workers' X-ray Surveillance Program. Mail to the address on the form. Do NOT send this form electronically to NIOSH. Print/Copy as a double-sided form.

General Purpose Chest Radiograph Classification Form (July 2014)
The general purpose form is provided as a convenience to certified B Readers and is not an official government form.

Related NIOSH Resources

Resurgence of a debilitating and entirely preventable respiratory disease among working coal miners.

Black Lung, Don't Become a Victim
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2003-123 (2003)
A NIOSH poster promoting participation in the Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program.

Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis-Related Years of Potential Life Lost Before Age 65 Years — United States, 1968–2006
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, December 2009;58(50);1412-1416.

Code of Federal Regulations 42CFR37 Specifications of Medical Examinations of Underground Coal Miners

Current Intelligence Bulletin 64: Coal Mine Dust Exposures and Associated Health Outcomes - A Review of Information Published Since 1995
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2011-172
NIOSH has published this current intelligence bulletin that reviews information on occupational lung diseases of coal miners.This Current Intelligence Bulletin updates the information on coal mine dust exposures and associated health effects from 1995 to the present. The Bulletin refers extensively to the 1995 NIOSH publication - Criteria for a Recommended Standard – Occupational Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust.

Faces of Black Lung (Video)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2008-131
Slide Show: Lung sections from victims of pneumoconiosis

NIOSH/DRDS/CWHSP Celebrates the 35th Anniversary of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act

Pneumoconiosis Prevalence Among Working Coal Miners Examined in Federal Chest Radiograph Surveillance Programs — United States, 1996–2002
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, April 2003;52(15):336-340.

Work-Related Lung Disease Surveillance System (eWoRLD), Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis and Related Exposures

Other Related Resources

American College of Radiology (ACR)

Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Black Lung Clinics Program

Campaign to End Black Lung Now and Forever

Federal Mine Safety & Health Act of 1977

Government Accountability Office, Reports and Key Studies Support the Scientific Conclusions Underlying the Proposed Exposure Limit for Respirable Coal Mine Dust, GAO-12-832R, Aug 17, 2012

Mine Safety and Health Administration

 
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  • Page last reviewed: September 11, 2014
  • Page last updated: September 16, 2014
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