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HHS finalizes changes to NIOSH’s Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program regulations

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Washington – The Department of Health and Human Services has finalized amendments to NIOSH’s Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program regulations to set standards that require coal mine operators to present a plan for providing lung testing and X-ray exams to surface and underground coal miners.

The changes also establish standards for NIOSH to approve facilities that perform spirometry testing on miners. The rule aligns with previous rulemaking by the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The rule, published in the Oct. 24 Federal Register, finalizes an August 2014 interim final rule by NIOSH that amplified its program to give chest exams to surface coal miners and set requirements for spirometry testing for coal miners.

NIOSH released the interim rule in response to MSHA publishing a final rule in May 2014 that amended standards intended to further protect coal miners through actions including expanding medical surveillance requirements.

The rule is scheduled to go into effect Nov. 23.

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