Federal agencies Coal

NIOSH to expand coal-miner health surveillance program

Washington – NIOSH has announced plans to expand its health surveillance program for coal miners.

The expanded program will feature respiratory health assessment questionnaires, as well as periodic lung function testing (also called spirometry). The program will pertain to workers at both surface and underground coal mines.

NIOSH has operated a health surveillance program for decades as part of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act, but is expanding the program in response to new requirements in the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s recent final rule on coal dust.

In the near future, NIOSH expects to publish regulations for its expanded health surveillance program in the Federal Register. In the meantime, the agency said, operators and contractors at new underground and surface mines should use the existing Coal Mine Operator’s Plan Form to file their mine plans, which must be posted for miners every five years.