Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program

The NIOSH Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP) , established by the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 (amended in 1977), studies the causes and effects of respiratory diseases related to coal mine dust exposure. This program:

  • Focuses on preventing early coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung, from progressing to a disabling disease
  • Provides vital health information to coal miners through free health screenings

The U.S. Department of Labor announced an effort to raise awareness of regulations that give coal miners with development of pneumoconiosis, or black lung, the right to work at a section of a mine with lower levels of dust without having their pay reduced or fearing discrimination or termination. Learn more at Miner Health Matters.

Special Notice

Coal Miners

Black lung and other chronic lung diseases associated with coal mining put you at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Take protecting yourself seriously. If you have a pre-existing condition, such as black lung, or any lung disease, or if you smoke, it is very important that you follow the guidance provided by the CDC for stopping the spread and reducing your risk of COVID-19.

COVID-19 and Spirometry

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

National Autopsy Study

The Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to provide coal miner autopsies and to pay for their submission to NIOSH. Please refer to Specification for Medical Examinations of Coal Miners Subpart Autopsies for information on payment for autopsy, autopsy specifications, and procedures for obtaining payment. At this time, funding is not available to pay for autopsies.

For any questions about autopsies, please email CWHSP at

Contact CWHSP

NIOSH Respiratory Disease Division
1000 Frederick Lane, Morgantown, WV 26508 | 1-888-480-4042 | CWHSP Facebook