The aim of this study was to characterize workplace practices and respiratory health among coal miners with large opacities consistent with progressive massive fibrosis (PMF) who received care at a federally funded black lung clinic network in Virginia.
Participants were interviewed about their workplace practices and respiratory health. Medical records were reviewed.
Nineteen former coal miners were included. Miners reported cutting rock, working downwind of dust-generating equipment, nonadherence to mine ventilation plans (including dust controls), improper sampling of respirable coal mine dust exposures, working after developing respiratory illness, and suffering from debilitating respiratory symptoms.
Consistent themes of suboptimal workplace practices contributing to development of PMF emerged during the interviews. Some of the practices reported were unsafe and unacceptable. Further research is needed to determine the prevalence of these factors and how best to address them.
Surveillance Branch, Respiratory Health Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, West Virginia (Reynolds, Drs Blackley, Storey, Clark, Laney, Halldin); Epidemic Intelligence Service Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia (Reynolds); Dust, Ventilation and Toxic Substances Branch, Pittsburgh Mining Research Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Mr Colinet, Mr Potts); Stone Mountain Health Services, St. Charles, Virginia (Short, Carson).
Address correspondence to: Laura E. Reynolds, MPH, BSN, RN, Surveillance Branch, Respiratory Health Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1095 Willowdale Rd., Mail Stop HG900.2, Morgantown, WV 26505–2888 (email@example.com).
LER analyzed and interpreted the data and led writing the article. LER, JFC, JDP, and ES interviewed the miners. CS and RC coordinated recruitment of miners. KAC reviewed and analyzed spirometry. CNH, ASL, JFC, JDP, ES, KAC, and DJB assisted with interpreting data, writing the article, and conceptualization and design of the study.
We report no funding conflicts. This report was completed under all authors’ normal scope of work. The participation of Stone Mountain Health Services staff with the research reported in this publication was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through Black Lung Clinic Program grant #H37RH00048.
This study was reviewed and approved by NIOSH's Institutional Review Board.
The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the NIOSH, HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health supported the salaries of the CDC authors. This work was performed by U.S. Federal Government employees as part of their work; no nongovernmental funding supported this work.
There are no commercial disclosures and no conflicts of interest.