Enhanced Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2019-112
“The first priority and concern of all in the coal or mining industry must be the health and safety of our most precious resource, the miner.”
~Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, amended 1977
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health(NIOSH), Enhanced Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program (ECWHSP) studies the causes and effects of respiratory diseases related to coal mine dust exposure and provides vital health information to coal miners through health screenings and surveillance.
Coal Mine Dust Lung Disease
Exposure to dust in coal mines can cause several lung diseases. These include black lung, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, and emphysema.
The NIOSH ECWHSP is an extension of the Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program, which was established by the Federal Coal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1969 to provide early detection of coal workers’ pneunoconiosis, also known as black lung, and to prevent progression to severe lung disease. The program offers easy access for coal miners to health screenings and allows researchers to identify trends in disease progression across the nation.
NIOSH state-of-the-art mobile testing units travel to convenient community and mine locations to provide health screenings to all coal miners (past and present).
- Work history questionnaire
- Chest radiograph
- Respiratory assessment questionnaire
- Lung function testing (spirometry)
- Blood pressure screening
Screenings usually take about 30 minutes. NIOSH directly provides each miner with their screening results. By law, each person’s results are confidential. No individual information is publicly disclosed.
Participation in this program gives coal miners:
- An easy way of checking their health status
- A confidential report about their lung function
- A confidential report on whether or not they have radiographic evidence of black lung
NIOSH . National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Enhanced Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program. By Wolfe A, Halldin C, Martin M. Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2019-112, https://doi.org/10.26616/NIOSHPUB2019112external icon