A proposed rule by the United States Department of Health and Human Services would implement changes to medical examinations of underground coal miners for the surveillance of occupational pneumoconiosis, or black lung. Pursuant to the proposal, an additional type of test is permitted, and reporting requirements would also be enhanced.
More specifically, the proposed rule would:
- Permit the use of digital radiograph tests. Film-based radiographs (commonly called chest x-rays) are currently implemented under the Coal Workers? Heath Surveillance Program. The proposed rule change would maintain the chest x-ray examinations, but, according to the Federal Register, ?a parallel set of standards to specify requirements that would permit the use of digital radiograph systems? would be added; and
- Require coal mine operators to provide the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) with lists of employees to assist in tracking the miners? participation in the program.
Comments related to the proposed rule must be received by March 9, 2012.