Beginning in April 2019, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will offer a series of free, confidential health screenings to coal miners as part of the Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP).
The screenings are intended to provide early detection of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as black lung, a serious but preventable occupational lung disease in coal miners caused by breathing respirable coal mine dust.
The health screenings are provided through the state-of-the-art NIOSH mobile testing units at convenient community and mine locations.
This year’s first week of surveys will begin April 8 in Grants, New Mexico.
The following weeks from April 15 through May 31, 2019, will be in coal mining regions throughout the Western United States (New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota). Eight weeks of surveys are planned this year throughout the Western U.S.
NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. said, “The NIOSH surveillance program provides both underground and surface miners with confidential screenings that can enable and motivate action towards reducing their exposure to coal dust.”
Screenings provided by NIOSH will
- A work history questionnaire;
- A chest radiograph;
- A respiratory assessment questionnaire;
- Spirometry testing; and
- Blood pressure screening.
The screenings typically take about 30 minutes and each individual miner is provided with their results. By law, each miner’s results are confidential. No individual information is publicly disclosed.
Participation in this program gives the coal miner:
- An easy way of checking on their health;
- A confidential report regarding whether or not they have radiographic evidence of CWP; and
- A confidential report about their lung function.
NIOSH encourages miners and their families to go to the CWHSP web page to learn additional information about the program.
You may also call the toll free number (1-888-480-4042) with questions.