Project Summary

Black lung disease contributes to the deaths of over 700 U.S. coal miners annually. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR) developed improved dust monitoring technology to advance the protection of miners from respirable dust that causes black lung.

Project Team

Team Members
Jon Volkwein, CDC
Bruce Watzman, National Mining Association
Jeffery Kohler, CDC
Mike Nemergut, Thermo Scientific
Joe Main, U.S. Department of Labor
Dennis O’Dell, United Mine Workers
Joe Lamonica, Bituminous Coal Operators Association


Project Details

While mine disasters dominate news headlines, mine workers face a subtle killer in the form of black lung disease, which contributes to the deaths of over 700 U.S. coal miners annually.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR) was tasked with developing improved dust monitoring technology to advance the protection of miners from respirable dust that causes black lung.

A key innovation to this effort’s success was the partnership that NIOSH formed with labor, industry, manufacturers, and regulators to develop a continuous personal dust monitor (PDM).  As a capstone to this partnership, the personal dust monitor, PDM-3600, was commercialized in 2009.  To date, over 200 units have been sold to mining companies, with new government regulations for dust control now requiring the use of this technology.

With NIOSH providing scientific leadership, the other partners contributed their experience and expertise.  This partnership, formed in the developmental stages of the work, resulted in substantial stakeholder buy-in and an effective final product.


Additional Information

Background

HHS Innovates is one of the ways we are building an innovative culture at the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS Innovates is a contest that recognizes and rewards action taken on good ideas. To date, HHS employees have submitted nominations of innovations for nearly 500 exciting new staff-driven innovative projects, and our employees have cast over 60,000 votes to select 42 finalists over seven rounds. This project is one of the finalists of HHS Innovates. Learn more about HHS Innovates.