Coal Workers’ X-ray Surveillance Program

Coal Workers’ X-ray Surveillance Program

Coal miners or contractors working for either underground or surface mines can receive a free chest x-ray, lung function test (spirometry), symptom assessment, and a health assessment questionnaire from NIOSH. The following should be implemented by mining companies:

  • Voluntary examinations must be provided at least every 5 years with a 6-month window if the miner was employed at a coal mine on or before August 1, 2014.
  • Mandatory examinations must be provided for each miner who begins work as a coal miner or contractor for the first time (e.g, a miner who is new to the coal mining industry) in these instances:
  • Pre-employment screening or within 30 days of starting employment
  • Within 3 years after initial examinations

If a chest x-ray shows evidence of pneumoconiosis or the spirometry results indicate decreased lung function based results from the follow-up exam, another follow-up exam must be provided within 2 years if the related miner is still engaged in coal mining.

All facilities that perform the periodic chest x-rays required for the CWHSP must be approved by NIOSH. Current NIOSH-approved facilities are not required to submit a new application and should continue to submit x-rays and supporting documents in their usual manner.

Facilities applying for approval to provide chest x-rays to the CWHSP (underground and surface coal miners) should consult the regulations outlined in 42CFR Part 37 Specifications of Medical Examinations of Underground Coal MinersExternalexternal icon. Facilities interested in NIOSH approval should contact the CWHSP for an approval packet, which details the requirements. Facilities may be approved for x-ray only, spirometry only, or both x-ray and spirometry.

Information on the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA’s) final rule on respirable coal mine dust exposure:

Page last reviewed: May 11, 2018