NIOSH goes west with black lung screenings

THE National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Coal Workers Health Surveillance Program is heading to sites in seven western US states, beginning later this month, to conduct pneumoconiosis survey screenings for miners.
NIOSH goes west with black lung screenings NIOSH goes west with black lung screenings NIOSH goes west with black lung screenings NIOSH goes west with black lung screenings NIOSH goes west with black lung screenings

Freeze-dried human lung sections with black lung disease

Donna Schmidt

The agency’s Mobile X-Ray Unit will visit locations in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana and Colorado, and will offer free, confidential screenings between late July and late September.

“The screenings are intended to provide early detection of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung, a serious but preventable occupational lung disease in coal miners caused by breathing respirable coal mine dust,” NIOSH officials from the Workforce Screening and Surveillance Team said.

Agency director John Howard added: “It is critical to detect coal workers’ pneumoconiosis as early as possible, to guide intervention and keep the disease from advancing to stages in which it becomes progressively debilitating and life-threatening [and] the screening offered by NIOSH is designed to serve that purpose.

“As a source of data through which scientists may identify trends in cases, it is also a vital component of efforts by NIOSH and its partners to protect miners at risk and eliminate coal workers’ pneumoconiosis once and for all.”

While the program is provided regularly for the health surveillance of underground coal miners, NIOSH said staff concern and that of other stakeholders for the risk of black lung to surface operations qualified the decision to focus its next set of testing efforts in the western coalfields.

The screening includes a questionnaire on work history as well as a chest X-ray, but workers will also be able to have a blood-pressure screening during the 15-minute process.

The NIOSH team reiterated that all results would be presented to the individual confidentially with no information disclosed publicly.

“The prevalence of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis among long-term underground miners who participated in chest X-ray screening decreased from the 1970s to the 1990s,” officials pointed out.

“However, the rate of disease in underground miners participating in the NIOSH program has recently increased: the current rate for underground miners participating in the NIOSH program and having a tenure in coal mining of at least 25 years is 9 per cent nationally, double the rate in 1995.

“Knowing the frequency of the disease and who may be at risk is important for determining how to prevent new cases; consequently, information regarding disease in surface coal miners is crucial.”

The testing facility will take walk-ins, but miners are urged to call 1-888-480-4042 toll free ahead of time to schedule a convenient time at their closest site location.

Screening times and locations are as follows (all local time):

Las Vegas, Nevada – UMWA National Convention

Mirage Hotel, Exhibit Hall A

This is open to all coal miners (working, retired, underground and surface)

Sunday, July 25, 2010 – 11am – 5pm

Monday, July 26, 2010 – 7.30am – 5.30pm

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 – 7.30am – 5.30pm

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 – 7.30am – 5.30pm

Kayenta Mine, Navajo Route 41, Off Hwy 160

Black Mesa, Arizona

Monday, August 2, 2010 – 7am – 7pm

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 – 7am – 7pm

Comfort Inn (for miners at Lee Ranch and El Segundo mines), 1551 Santa Fe Avenue

Grants, New Mexico

Thursday, August 5, 2010 – 7am – 7pm

Friday, August 6, 2020 – 7am – 7pm

McKinley mine, 24 miles north of Gallup, New Mexico

Monday, August 9, 2010 – 6am – 6pm

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 – 6am – 6pm

Navajo Mine, CR 6675 – 16 miles SW of Fruitland

Fruitland, New Mexico

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 – 6am – 6pm

Thursday, August 12, 2010 – 6am – 6pm

Colowyo mine, 5731 State Hwy 13

Meeker, Colorado

Monday, August 16, 2010 – 6am – 6pm

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 – 6am – 6pm

Trapper mine, Hwy 13 – 6 ½ miles SW of Craig

Craig, Colorado

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 – 6am – 6pm

Jim Bridger mine, 932 Nine Mile Road

Point of Rocks, Wyoming

Thursday, August 19, 2010 – 4pm – 8pm

Friday, August 20, 2010 – 5am – 1pm

Kemmerer mine, 6520 Elkol Co Rd 304

Kemmerer, Wyoming

Monday, August 23, 2010 – 6am – 6pm

Sleep Inn (for miners at the Antelope mine, 508 Cortez Drive

Douglas, Wyoming

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 – 7am – 7pm

Powder River Transportation/Coach America Bus Barn (for all miners in the Gillette area), 1700 E US Hwy 14-16

Gillette, Wyoming

Thursday, August 26, 2010 – 3.30pm – 7pm

Friday, August 27, 2010 – 7am – 7pm

Gillette College Technical Center (for all miners in the Gillette area), 3251 S. 4 J Road

Gillette, Wyoming

Monday, August 30, 2010 – 7am – 7pm

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 – 7am – 7pm

Wright Hotel (for miners from Black Thunder, Jacobs Ranch and North Antelope Rochelle mines), 300 Reata Drive

Wright, Wyoming

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 – 7am – 7pm

Thursday, September 2, 2010 – 7am – 7pm

Weston County Senior Services (for miners from Black Thunder, Jacobs Ranch and North Antelope Rochelle mines), Senior Center/old grade school, 627 Pine Street

Newcastle, Wyoming

Friday, September 3, 2010 – 8am – 8pm

Sheridan Holiday Inn (for miners from the Spring Creek and Decker mines), 1809 Sugarland Drive

Sheridan, Wyoming

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 – 7am – 7pm

Absaloka mine, 529 Sarpy Basin Road

Hardin, Montana

Wednesday, 09/08/2010 – 9am – 6pm

Thursday, September 9, 2010 – 5am – 6pm

Rosebud mine, 138 Rosebud Lane

Colstrip, Montana

Friday, 09/10/2010 – 6am – 8pm

Bull Mountain Mine #1, 100 Portal Drive

Roundup, Montana

Monday, September 13, 2010 – 6am – 8pm

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 – 6am – 8pm

Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center (for miners at the Falkirk, Beulah, Freedom, and Center mines), 2576 8th Street SW

Washburn, North Dakota

Thursday, September 16, 2010 – 8am – 8pm

Friday, September 17, 2010 – 8am – 8pm

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