What is the Federal Black Lung Program?

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2021 | Workers' compensation

The coal mining industry remains one of the most widespread, lucrative industries of natural material around. On top of that, it is also one of the most dangerous to workers. Not only do coal miners have to worry about structural integrity issues causing cave-ins, but they also have to worry about the safety of the air underground.

Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), or “black lung disease”, is an ailment that wreaks havoc on the body when workers inhale coal dust over time. To help mitigate damages and support workers suffering from CWP, the Federal Black Lung Program came into play.

What does this program cover?

The U.S. Department of Labor discusses the Federal Black Lung Program. This program, i.e. the Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation, will administer claims files under something called the Black Lung Benefits Act.

This act provides workers affected by CWP with compensation for the damage to their health and the potential impact that CWP may have on employment. It also covers cases of miner deaths that may end up attributed to CWP. If a worker still battles with CWP and other related pulmonary diseases branching from it, this act may provide further financial cushioning and support throughout the treatment.

What damage do CWP sufferers deal with?

CWP gets classified as an occupational hazard of mining and an occupational lung disease suffered by many miners. Consistent exposure to coal dust over a prolonged period of time can scar the lungs, creating breathing impairments. It can cause chest tightness, difficulty breathing, and a cough that retains persistence or worsens with time.

Though no treatment currently exists to reverse this damage, it is possible to slow the disease’s progress, alleviate symptoms and improve overall quality of life. Gaining financial compensation for medical treatment can further ensure this outcome.