CDC logoSafer Healthier People CDC HomeCDC SearchCDC Health Topics A-Z
NIOSH - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Skip navigation links Search NIOSH  |  NIOSH Home  |  NIOSH Topics  |  Site Index  |  Databases and Information Resources  |  NIOSH Products  |  Contact Us

NIOSH Program Portfolio



NORA Construction Sector Strategic Goals

927Z1NL - Worker Monitoring Using Imaging Techniques

Start Date: 10/1/2005
End Date: 9/30/2014

Principal Investigator (PI)
Name: Edward Petsonk
Phone: 304-285-5842
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: DRDS
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goal Addressed

Secondary Goal Addressed

Attributed to Construction

Project Description

Short Summary

This project involves the design and performance of research to evaluate and enhance the application of digital chest radiographic images to assess workers at risk for dust-related lung diseases including miners, agricultural and construction workers. Through interaction with scientific, professional groups and opinion leaders, the convening of workshops, and publications in print and electronic media, the project will provide authoritative guidance to radiologic imaging facilities, B Readers, and other health professionals in optimizing the application of chest radiographic images in research, surveillance, and clinical practice.


The project has a focus on developing, refining, and evaluating methods for worker monitoring using imaging techniques. The main aspects to be investigated and disseminated, when appropriate, are: specifications for collection, display, and classification of digital chest radiographs; implementation of resources to receive, evaluate, classify, transmit, and store digital chest radiograph images and related data; examination and certification of B Readers, using digital radiographs; use of calibrated readings to improve quality assurance in classifications; and use of computerized tomographic images in the routine screening and monitoring for dust-related diseases. These issues will be studied using actual data, taking into account both theoretical and practical considerations. Studies will be performed comparing the results of classifications using the ILO system, for chest images obtained using various digital and conventional approaches. The influence of diverse technical and procedural parameters on the apparent presence and extent of disease will be investigated, as well as the implications for validity and reader agreement. The image files will be obtained through ongoing NIOSH programs, such as the Coal Workers’ X-ray Surveillance Program and the Health Hazard Evaluations program, as well as through existing and new partnerships with other federal agencies and academic investigators to include agricultural and construction workers. Pilot and demonstration efforts will also be directed at new approaches to increasing the accuracy and reproducibility of B Reader classifications of radiographs for pneumoconiosis. Both occupational health practice and several OSHA standards require monitoring of lung health through lung imaging for the early detection and secondary prevention of occupational dust diseases, and the technical advances supported by this project will be able to be utilized in all industries for worker monitoring, including the agricultural and construction industry where dust exposure is a concern. The goal of this project is to provide science-based guidance for the application of digital and other new imaging technologies in the monitoring of worker health, taking into account the latest technological developments. NIOSH provides U.S. and international leadership in lung imaging for occupational lung disease, and has a mission to assure that studies performed by the Institute and our partners address the important issues in the practice of occupational disease research and prevention.


The project will include the convening of expert workshops and stakeholder meetings to provide NIOSH feedback on the practicality and effectiveness of the draft recommendations. Direct comparisons of the traditional and digital technologies are part of the research objectives, and the results will be considered effective if the recommendations are accepted and widely adopted in the occupational health community. The objectives are to implement a science-based specification for the collection and display of digital chest radiographs; to implement a science-based specification for the classification of digital radiographs using the International Labour Office Classification of Radiographs of Pneumoconiosis; to develop capability for NIOSH programs to receive, evaluate, classify, transmit, and store digital chest radiograph images; to develop capability for NIOSH to examine and certify B Readers using digital chest radiograph images; to develop practical procedures and accessible capacities to provide calibrated classifications of chest radiographs; to develop practical guidance on the use of computerized tomographic images in the routine screening and monitoring for dust-related diseases; and to improve the accuracy of the interpretation and classification of chest radiographs for dust-related lung diseases.

Page last updated:April 24, 2013
Page last reviewed:May 23, 2011
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office of the Director


NIOSH Program:


construction worker, crane, architect