The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has begun offering 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.
Until recently, underground coal miners and mine operators had little way of knowing—in real time—if miners were being exposed to hazardous levels of respirable coal dust during their shifts. NIOSH collaborated with an instrument manufacturer, government partners, labor representatives, and coal industry leaders to develop the continuous personal dust monitor (CPDM), a technology that offers miners, safety personnel, and operators real-time exposure information to help protect miners’ health.
From 1986 to 2010, 10 deadly explosions occurred in underground coal mines in the United States. The risk of explosion involves an interrelated chain of events. A source of heat (such as a spark) ignites methane gas in the air of the coal mine tunnel.
Chester Fike was just in his 30s when he was diagnosed with black lung. As the disease progressed, the West Virginia coal miner was eventually so incapacitated that a simple walk with his family was impossible. In the summer of 2012, four months after a double lung transplant raised hopes for a second chance, Fike lost his fight for life at 60.
The following was posted on Saturday, Dec. 6: One hundred seven years ago today in Monongah, West Virginia, 362 coal miners – many of them teenage boys — went to work and never came home. That morning, an explosion ripped through two connected mines.
The National Mining Association (NMA) has asked a federal appeals court to review the Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA) regulation for the control of coal dust in underground coal mines, contending that the rule “embodies fundamental legal and technical infirmities in its scope, foundation and framework.”
Among the many items on the federal government’s recently-released fall regulatory agenda are nine belonging to the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Two of them are in the final stage of rulemaking.
A study of the lung tissue of miners killed in the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine disaster has determined that most of the victims had black lung disease – adding evidence to the belief that the deadly disease is experiencing a resurgence in the U.S.