Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program: Spirometry

COVID-19 and Routine Spirometry

On May 25, 2021, NIOSH updated its recommendations to state that spirometry testing, as part of the Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program, can resume if recommended infection prevention and control precautions are implemented, guidance from state and local health departments is followed, and information about community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is considered.

Go to Routine Spirometry as part of the Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program for more information. 

Coal Miner Spirometry

miner spiro hue cropped

Following the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA’s) recently-published final rule on respirable coal mine dust exposureexternal icon, NIOSH expanded its national program of health surveillance for coal miners to include spirometry testing and respiratory health questionnaires. These services are in addition to chest radiographs and occupational history questionnaires.

Spirometry is a diagnostic test used to assess lung function. It measures how much air you inhale, how much you exhale, and how quickly you exhale. It is used to identify breathing impairment seen in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other conditions that affect breathing.

Health Providers of Periodic Spirometry for Coal Miners

Below is information on the new requirements for coal miner health surveillance related to spirometry facilities and spirometer manufacturers.

Health facilities must be approved by NIOSH before they can provide spirometry tests and administer respiratory assessment questionnaires for the Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP).

Current NIOSH-approved x-ray facilities must seek separate approval to provide spirometry testing and the respiratory assessment.

In addition, facilities seeking approval to administer spirometry tests and the respiratory assessment under the expanded CWHSP (underground and surface coal miners) must comply with the regulations as outlined in 42 CFR Part 37external icon.

Spirometer Manufacturer Information
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NIOSH Respiratory Disease Division
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Page last reviewed: October 25, 2018