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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 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 OfficePhoneNumber
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

PENNSYLVANIAAltoona Regional Health SystemAltoona, Pennsylvania(814)889-2853
PENNSYLVANIAAlveoli, Inc.- Lungs at WorkMcMurray, Pennsylvania(724)941-1650
PENNSYLVANIACenterville Clinics, Inc.Fredericktown, Pennsylvania(724)632-6801 x2258
TENNESSEECommunity Health of East TennesseeJacksboro, Tennessee(423)563-1009
VIRGINIASt. Charles Health CouncilPennington Gap, Virginia(276)546-5310 x3103
WEST VIRGINIABlack Lung Clinics Program, West Virginia Department of HealthCharleston, West Virginia(304)558-7127
WYOMINGNOWCAPWorland, Wyoming(307)672-0046
ALABAMABirmingham Health Care, Inc.Birmingham, Alabama(205)212-5653
COLORADONational Jewish HealthDenver, Colorado(303)398-1867
ILLINOISJ. H. Stroger Hospital Black Lung Clinics ProgramChicago, Illinois(312)864-2901
ILLINOISShawnee Health Services & Development CorporationCarterville, Illinois(618)985-8221
KENTUCKYMountain Comprehensive Health CorporationWhitesburg, Kentucky(606)633-4823
KENTUCKYCoal Miner Respiratory ClinicGreenville, Kentucky(270)338-8000 x301
NEW MEXICOMiners’ Colfax Medical CenterRaton, New Mexico(575)445-4585
OHIOOhio Black Lung Clinics Program, Ohio Department of HealthColumbus, Ohio(614)644-8063

State Offices of Workers’ Compensation

 Department of Labor, State Workers' Compensation Officials

ALABAMAWorkers’ Compensation DivisionMontgomery, Alabama(334)242-2868(800)528-5166
ALASKADivision Workers’ CompensationJuneau, Alaska (877)783-4980
ARIZONAIndustrial CommissionPhoenix, Arizona(602)542-4661 
ARKANSASWorkers’ Compensation CommissionLittle Rock, Arkansas(501)682-3930(800)622-4472
CALIFORNIADivision of Workers’ CompensationSan Francisco, California(415)703-5011(800)736-7401
COLORADODivision of Workers’ CompensationDenver, Colorado(303)318-8700(888)390-7936
CONNECTICUTWorkers’ Compensation CommissionHartford, Connecticut(860)493-1500(800)223-9675
DELAWAREOffice of Workers’ CompensationWilmington, Delaware(302)761-8200 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIAOffice of Workers’ CompensationWashington, District of Columbia(202)671-1000 
FLORIDADivision of Workers’ CompensationTallahassee, Florida (800)342-1741
GEORGIABoard of Workers’ CompensationAtlanta, Georgia(404)656-3818(800)533-0682
HAWAIIDisability Compensation DivisionHonolulu, Hawaii (808)586-9161
IDAHOIndustrial CommissionBoise, Idaho(208)334-6000(800)950-2110
ILLINOISWorkers’ Compensation CommissionChicago, Illinois(312)814-6611(866)352-3033
INDIANAWorkers’ Compensation BoardIndianapolis, Indiana(317)232-3808(800)824-2667
IOWADivision of Workers’ CompensationDes Moines, Iowa(515)281-5387(800)562-4692
KANSASDivision of Workers’ CompensationTopeka, Kansas(785)296-2996(800)322-0353
KENTUCKYOffice of Workers’ ClaimsFrankfort, Kentucky(502)564-5550(800)554-8601
LOUISIANAOffice of Workers’ CompensationBaton Rouge, Louisiana(225)342-7555 
MAINEWorkers’ Compensation BoardAugusta, Maine(207)287-3751(888)801-9087
MARYLANDWorkers’ Compensation CommissionBaltimore, Maryland(410)864-5100(800)492-0479
MASSACHUSETTSDepartment of Industrial AccidentsBoston, Massachusetts(617)727-4900(800)323-3249
MICHIGANWorkers’ Compensation AgencyLansing, Michigan (888)396-5041
MINNESOTAWorkers’ Compensation DivisionSt. Paul, Minnesota(651)284-5005(800)342-5354
MISSISSIPPIWorkers’ Compensation CommissionJackson, Mississippi(601)987-4200(866)473-6922
MISSOURIDivision of Workers’ CompensationJefferson City, Missouri(573)751-4231(800)775-2667
MONTANAEmployment Relations DivisionHelena, Montana(406)444-6543 
NEBRASKAWorkers’ Compensation CourtLincoln, Nebraska(402)471-6468(800)599-5155
NEVADADivision of Industrial RelationsCarson City, Nevada(775)684-7260 
NEW HAMPHSHIREWorkers’ Compensation DivisionConcord, New Hampshire(603)271-3176(800)272-4353
NEW JERSEYDivision of Workers’ CompensationTrenton, New Jersey (609)292-2515
NEW MEXICOWorkers’ Compensation AdministrationAlbuquerque, New Mexico(505)841-6000(800)255-7965
NEW YORKWorkers’ Compensation BoardAlbany, New York(518)462-8880(877)632-4996
NORTH CAROLINAIndustrial CommissionRaleigh, North Carolina(919)807-2501(800)688-8349
NORTH DAKOTAWorkforce Safety and InsuranceBismarck, North Dakota(701)328-3800(800)777-5033
OHIOBureau of Workers’ CompensationColumbus, Ohio (800)644-6292
OKLAHOMAWorkers’ Compensation CourtOklahoma City, Oklahoma(405)522-8600(800)522-8210
OREGONWorkers’ Compensation DivisionSalem, Oregon(503)947-7810(800)452-0288
PENNSYLVANIABureau of Workers’ CompensationHarrisburg, Pennsylvania(717)783-5421(800)482-2383
PUERTO RICOIndustrial CommissionSan Juan, Puerto Rico(787)781-0545 
RHODE ISLANDDivision of Workers’ CompensationCranston, Rhode Island(401)462-8100 
SOUTH CAROLINAWorkers’ Compensation CommissionColumbia, South Carolina(803)737-5700 
SOUTH DAKOTADivision of Labor & ManagementPierre, South Dakota(605)773-3681 
TENNESSEEDivision of Workers’ CompensationNashville, Tennessee(615)741-2395(800)332-2667
TEXASDivision of Workers’ CompensationAustin, Texas(512)804-4000(800)252-7031
UTAHLabor Commission, Division of Industrial AccidentsSalt Lake City, Utah(801)530-6800(800)530-5090
VERMONTWorkers’ Compensation DivisionMontpelier, Vermont(802)828-2286(800)734-2286
VIRGINIAWorkers’ Compensation CommissionRichmond, Virginia (877)664-2566
VIRGIN ISLANDSWorkers’ Compensation AdministrationSt. Thomas, Virgin Islands(340)776-3700(800)809-8477
WASHINGTONInsurance Services DivisionTumwater, Washington(360)902-5800(800)547-8367
WEST VIRGINIAOFFICES OF INSURANCE COMMISSIONCharleston, West Virginia(304)558-3386(888)879-9842
WISCONSINWorkers’ Compensation DivisionMadison, Wisconsin(608)266-1340 
WYOMINGWorkers’ Compensation DivisionCheyenne, Wyoming(307)777-5476 
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  • Page last reviewed: April 17, 2013
  • Page last updated: April 17, 2013 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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