“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 NIOSH Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP) 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.

The CWHSP was established by the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 (amended in 1997)external icon to prevent early coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung, from progressing to a disabling disease. As required by this act and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) rule for respirable coal mine dust exposureexternal icon, the program offers periodic lung function testing (called spirometry), respiratory health assessment questionnaires, and extended health surveillance for surface, underground, and contract coal miners.

Mobile screening van with line of people out front

2020 Black Lung Screenings

Special notice for mining operators and contractors: The Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program is currently not operating at full capacity. Many facilities performing spirometry and x-rays have closed.  It is important for those at increased risk for serious disease, such as coal miners with lung disease or other chronic health conditions, to engage in social distancing. As a result, we recommend that mining operators and contractors suspend all miner (new and current) surveillance testing, regardless of open testing period dates, until further notice.

Page last reviewed: February 19, 2020