NIOSH logo and tagline

Media Advisory: Federal Register Notice for Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program

November 13, 2018
NIOSH Update:
Press Contact: Nura Sadeghpour (202) 245-0673


Federal Register Notice: Barriers to Participation in the NIOSH Coal Workers Health Surveillance Program

The Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP), administered by CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), is seeking information from coal miners, miner advocates, unions, industry stakeholders, and other interested parties about barriers to participating in health screenings offered by the Program.


Please visit or go to and search for docket CDC-2018-24700 to submit public comment.

Comments must be received by January 14, 2019.


The NIOSH Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP) was established by the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 to prevent early coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung, from progressing to a disabling disease. Through the program, eligible miners can obtain periodic chest radiographs and spirometry examinations, confidential and at no cost to them. NIOSH has administered the program since its inception in 1970.

Black lung is a serious but preventable occupational lung disease caused by breathing respirable coal mine dust. In the Appalachian coal mining states of Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, as many as one in five underground coal miners with more than 25 years tenure are thought to have radiographic evidence of black lung. Participation by coal miners in the CWHSP is voluntary, and about 35 percent of active coal miners participate in health screenings offered by the Program. Greater participation in the Program would provide more opportunities for early detection of pneumoconiosis in coal miners, providing those with early disease the ability to take action to reduce the chance for progression to severe lung disease. All coal miners (current, former, underground, surface, and contract) are encouraged to participate.