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Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP) Resource List

What is Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis?

Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis is a lung disease caused by inhaling coal mine dust. Although some miners never develop the disease, others may develop the early signs after less than 10 years of mining experience. According to recent studies by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), about one of every 20 miners participating in our program has X-ray evidence of some pneumoconiosis.

In its early stages, called simple pneumoconiosis, the disease may not prevent you from working or carrying on most normal activities. In some miners, the disease progresses from simple to complicated pneumoconiosis, a condition called progressive massive fibrosis.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for the damage that the dust has already done to your lungs. However, preventing Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis is among the highest priorities in protecting the health of the coal miner. It is an effort that requires the commitment of you, the miner, as well as the coal mine operator.

Two coal miners

How can I know whether I have Black Lung?

Pneumoconiosis may be detected on chest x-rays. The Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, as amended by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, has created two x-ray programs.

The first program is for new coal miners and requires that when you begin working in underground coal mining, you must be offered a chest X-ray, either as part of a pre-placement physical examination or within six months after being hired. Three years later you must be offered a second chest X-ray. If this second examination reveals evidence of pneumoconiosis, you must be offered a third chest X-ray two years after the second.

The second program is for all miners working in an underground coal mine. You must be offered a chest X-ray approximately every five years during a six-month time period arranged by the coal mine and approved by NIOSH.

What else might the X-ray examination tell me?

In addition to providing an indication of whether or not you have pneumoconiosis, the X-ray examination may also reveal evidence of other medical disorders. Heart problems and certain other diseases such as tuberculosis and lung cancer may be detected through a chest X-ray.

To whom does NIOSH send the medical report?

No one will be notified of the results without your written permission.

How can I learn more about my transfer options?

If your chest X-ray indicates definite evidence of “BLACK LUNG,” you will receive a letter offering you a transfer option. The transfer option gives you the right to work at a job in the mine where the dust concentration is not more than 1.0 milligram per cubic meter of air. It is possible that the dust exposure on your current job already meets that level and you would not be entitled to a transfer.

If you exercise this transfer option, the coal company that you work for will be notified by MSHA. Before you exercise your transfer option, we recommend that you contact the MSHA District Office nearest you to discuss specifics and details about transfer options (see enclosed resource list).

What if I have any symptoms or health concerns?

If you have shortness of breath, cough or any other health concerns, we suggest you ask your doctor about them right away. Also, contact your doctor if the X-ray report mentions a health condition that requires medical follow-up, testing or treatment.

If you don’t have a regular doctor, you can find a doctor who knows about mining-related health problems at one of the U.S. Government-supported Black Lung Clinics. These clinics typically offer benefits counseling, treatment and testing, including chest X-rays, laboratory services, pulmonary function testing and education about respiratory diseases for miners and their families. Active, inactive and retired coal miners who suffer from chronic respiratory diseases are eligible for such services. Services vary from clinic to clinic, so check with your nearest Black Lung Clinic for specifics.

How can I learn about Federal disability benefits or compensation?

If you have been told by a physician that you have pneumoconiosis or other lung problems, you may have questions about whether you are eligible for any compensation from the Federal Government.

The Federal Black Lung Benefits Program is completely separate from the State Workers’ Compensation programs. Some miners may qualify for one program and not the other. The Federal program provides payments and medical treatment to coal miners who are totally disabled from pneumoconiosis (Black Lung) arising from their employment in or around the nation’s coal mines. In select cases, payments may be paid to eligible surviving dependents.

To find out about your eligibility for Federal Black Lung Benefits, contact the nearest Black Lung Benefits Office.

How can I learn about State disability benefits or compensation?

If you have been told by a physician that you have pneumoconiosis or other lung problems, you may have questions about whether you are eligible for any compensation from the State Government. Workers’ Compensation programs are different in every state, so you should contact your State Office of Workers’ Compensation.

Call now- if you don’t apply in time, you could lose your benefits forever.

How can I get a copy of my X-ray or find out more about my X-ray report?

NIOSH arranges for experts to review you chest X-ray and stores the film for future comparisons. If you need a copy or want more information about your chest X-ray, contact NIOSH.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program
1095 Willowdale Road- M/S LB208
Morgantown, WV 26505-2888
Local: 304-285-5724
Toll Free: 1-888-480-4042
Fax: 304-285-6058

Contact Information

MSHA District Offices

MSHA District Map and District Pages

District Location PhoneNumber
District 1 (Anthracite coal mining in PA) Wilkes-Barre, PA (570)826-6321
District 2 (Bituminous coal mining in PA) Hunker, PA (724)925-5150
District 3 (MD, OH, & Northern WV) Morgantown, WV (304)225-6800
District 4 (Southern WV) Mt. Hope, WV (304)877-3900
District 5 (VA) Norton, VA (276)679-0230
District 6 (Eastern KY) Pikeville, KY (606)432-0944
District 7 (Central KY, NC, SC, TN, Northeastern corner of AL & Northern GA) Barbourville, KY (606)546-5123
District 8 (IL, IN, IA, IN, MN, Northern MO & WI) Vincennes, IN (812)882-7617
District 9 (States West of Mississippi River, except for MN, IA & NORTHERN MO) Denver, CO (303)231-5458
District 10 (Western KY) Madisonville, KY (270)821-4180
District 11 (Central & Southern GA, FL, MS, PR & VI) Birmingham, AL (205)290-7300
District 12 (Southern WV) Pineville WV (304)253-5237

Black Lung Benefits Offices

Department of Labor, Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation

Black Lung Office PhoneNumber
NATIONAL OFFICE, U.S. Department of Labor-OWCP/DCMWC Washington, DC (202)693-0824
Charleston, West Virginia (800)347-3753
Columbus, Ohio (800)347-3771
Denver, Colorado (800)366-4612
Greensburg, Pennsylvania (800)347-3753
Johnstown, Pennsylvania (800)347-3754
Mount Sterling, Kentucky (800)366-4628
Parkersburg, West Virginia (800)347-3751
Pikeville, Kentucky (800)366-4599
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (800)347-3755

Black Lung Clinics

Health Resources and Services Administration, Black Lung Clinics Program

State Clinic Location PhoneNumber
PENNSYLVANIA Altoona Regional Health System Altoona, Pennsylvania (814)889-2853
PENNSYLVANIA Alveoli, Inc.- Lungs at Work McMurray, Pennsylvania (724)941-1650
PENNSYLVANIA Centerville Clinics, Inc. Fredericktown, Pennsylvania (724)632-6801 x2258
TENNESSEE Community Health of East Tennessee Jacksboro, Tennessee (423)563-1009
VIRGINIA St. Charles Health Council Pennington Gap, Virginia (276)546-5310 x3103
WEST VIRGINIA Black Lung Clinics Program, West Virginia Department of Health Charleston, West Virginia (304)558-7127
WYOMING NOWCAP Worland, Wyoming (307)672-0046
ALABAMA Birmingham Health Care, Inc. Birmingham, Alabama (205)212-5653
COLORADO National Jewish Health Denver, Colorado (303)398-1867
ILLINOIS J. H. Stroger Hospital Black Lung Clinics Program Chicago, Illinois (312)864-2901
ILLINOIS Shawnee Health Services & Development Corporation Carterville, Illinois (618)985-8221
KENTUCKY Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation Whitesburg, Kentucky (606)633-4823
KENTUCKY Coal Miner Respiratory Clinic Greenville, Kentucky (270)338-8000 x301
NEW MEXICO Miners’ Colfax Medical Center Raton, New Mexico (575)445-4585
OHIO Ohio Black Lung Clinics Program, Ohio Department of Health Columbus, Ohio (614)644-8063

State Offices of Workers’ Compensation

Department of Labor, State Workers' Compensation Officials

State Office Location PhoneNumber TollFreeNumber
ALABAMA Workers’ Compensation Division Montgomery, Alabama (334)242-2868 (800)528-5166
ALASKA Division Workers’ Compensation Juneau, Alaska   (877)783-4980
ARIZONA Industrial Commission Phoenix, Arizona (602)542-4661  
ARKANSAS Workers’ Compensation Commission Little Rock, Arkansas (501)682-3930 (800)622-4472
CALIFORNIA Division of Workers’ Compensation San Francisco, California (415)703-5011 (800)736-7401
COLORADO Division of Workers’ Compensation Denver, Colorado (303)318-8700 (888)390-7936
CONNECTICUT Workers’ Compensation Commission Hartford, Connecticut (860)493-1500 (800)223-9675
DELAWARE Office of Workers’ Compensation Wilmington, Delaware (302)761-8200  
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Office of Workers’ Compensation Washington, District of Columbia (202)671-1000  
FLORIDA Division of Workers’ Compensation Tallahassee, Florida   (800)342-1741
GEORGIA Board of Workers’ Compensation Atlanta, Georgia (404)656-3818 (800)533-0682
HAWAII Disability Compensation Division Honolulu, Hawaii   (808)586-9161
IDAHO Industrial Commission Boise, Idaho (208)334-6000 (800)950-2110
ILLINOIS Workers’ Compensation Commission Chicago, Illinois (312)814-6611 (866)352-3033
INDIANA Workers’ Compensation Board Indianapolis, Indiana (317)232-3808 (800)824-2667
IOWA Division of Workers’ Compensation Des Moines, Iowa (515)281-5387 (800)562-4692
KANSAS Division of Workers’ Compensation Topeka, Kansas (785)296-2996 (800)322-0353
KENTUCKY Office of Workers’ Claims Frankfort, Kentucky (502)564-5550 (800)554-8601
LOUISIANA Office of Workers’ Compensation Baton Rouge, Louisiana (225)342-7555  
MAINE Workers’ Compensation Board Augusta, Maine (207)287-3751 (888)801-9087
MARYLAND Workers’ Compensation Commission Baltimore, Maryland (410)864-5100 (800)492-0479
MASSACHUSETTS Department of Industrial Accidents Boston, Massachusetts (617)727-4900 (800)323-3249
MICHIGAN Workers’ Compensation Agency Lansing, Michigan   (888)396-5041
MINNESOTA Workers’ Compensation Division St. Paul, Minnesota (651)284-5005 (800)342-5354
MISSISSIPPI Workers’ Compensation Commission Jackson, Mississippi (601)987-4200 (866)473-6922
MISSOURI Division of Workers’ Compensation Jefferson City, Missouri (573)751-4231 (800)775-2667
MONTANA Employment Relations Division Helena, Montana (406)444-6543  
NEBRASKA Workers’ Compensation Court Lincoln, Nebraska (402)471-6468 (800)599-5155
NEVADA Division of Industrial Relations Carson City, Nevada (775)684-7260  
NEW HAMPHSHIRE Workers’ Compensation Division Concord, New Hampshire (603)271-3176 (800)272-4353
NEW JERSEY Division of Workers’ Compensation Trenton, New Jersey   (609)292-2515
NEW MEXICO Workers’ Compensation Administration Albuquerque, New Mexico (505)841-6000 (800)255-7965
NEW YORK Workers’ Compensation Board Albany, New York (518)462-8880 (877)632-4996
NORTH CAROLINA Industrial Commission Raleigh, North Carolina (919)807-2501 (800)688-8349
NORTH DAKOTA Workforce Safety and Insurance Bismarck, North Dakota (701)328-3800 (800)777-5033
OHIO Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Columbus, Ohio   (800)644-6292
OKLAHOMA Workers’ Compensation Court Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (405)522-8600 (800)522-8210
OREGON Workers’ Compensation Division Salem, Oregon (503)947-7810 (800)452-0288
PENNSYLVANIA Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (717)783-5421 (800)482-2383
PUERTO RICO Industrial Commission San Juan, Puerto Rico (787)781-0545  
RHODE ISLAND Division of Workers’ Compensation Cranston, Rhode Island (401)462-8100  
SOUTH CAROLINA Workers’ Compensation Commission Columbia, South Carolina (803)737-5700  
SOUTH DAKOTA Division of Labor & Management Pierre, South Dakota (605)773-3681  
TENNESSEE Division of Workers’ Compensation Nashville, Tennessee (615)741-2395 (800)332-2667
TEXAS Division of Workers’ Compensation Austin, Texas (512)804-4000 (800)252-7031
UTAH Labor Commission, Division of Industrial Accidents Salt Lake City, Utah (801)530-6800 (800)530-5090
VERMONT Workers’ Compensation Division Montpelier, Vermont (802)828-2286 (800)734-2286
VIRGINIA Workers’ Compensation Commission Richmond, Virginia   (877)664-2566
VIRGIN ISLANDS Workers’ Compensation Administration St. Thomas, Virgin Islands (340)776-3700 (800)809-8477
WASHINGTON Insurance Services Division Tumwater, Washington (360)902-5800 (800)547-8367
WEST VIRGINIA OFFICES OF INSURANCE COMMISSION Charleston, West Virginia (304)558-3386 (888)879-9842
WISCONSIN Workers’ Compensation Division Madison, Wisconsin (608)266-1340  
WYOMING Workers’ Compensation Division Cheyenne, Wyoming (307)777-5476