Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program

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

Black Lung Screenings
Mobile screenings

NewOur mobile health unit will be providing free black lung screenings to miners at the National Coalition for Black Lung & Respiratory Disease Clinics 2023 Conference.

Location: Carnegie Hotel, 1216 W. State of Franklin Rd. Johnson City, TN

Screening Dates: Wednesday, September 27; Thursday, September 28

Screening times: 8:00am – 4:30pm

Screenings include:

Announcements for black lung screenings are made through NIOSH press releases, Facebook , and Twitter. Announcements are also made through local newspapers and radio stations.

Clinic screenings

Black lung screenings are provided at NIOSH-approved clinics located in mining regions across the U.S. Information about facilities can be found at NIOSH Approved Facility Search and Map.

Coal Mining Respiratory Diseases

Coal mining-related respiratory diseases are caused by breathing in coal mine dust.


Pneumoconiosis refers to scarring of lung tissue when breathing in mineral dusts. The primary types of pneumoconiosis seen in coal miners are coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (also called black lung), silicosis and mixed dust pneumoconiosis. is another type of pneumoconiosis, usually seen in other work settings. For more information on the following lung diseases see Pneumoconiosis.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a lung disease that can impair movement of air into and out of the lungs. It can also impair the ability of the lungs to take up oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the body. COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

For more information see the CDC COPD web page. To learn about work-related COPD through interviews with a physician and patients diagnosed with the disease see the video Faces of Work-related COPD.

Special Notice
Part 90

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.

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.

Related Resources
Medical records, mine plans, forms

Request for Medical Records

Mine Plans Due for Renewal


Mining Contacts

State and National Contacts

Communication Materials

Why Black Lung Screenings are Important for Coal Miners – Infographic

NIOSH Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program – Fact Sheet (Spanish)

Black Lung Screenings – Fact Sheet (Spanish)

Faces of Black Lung I

Faces of Black Lung II

Publication Search

Search the NIOSHTIC-2 database to find additional occupational and safety health publications on this topic from NIOSH or a NIOSH supported project.


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