National Black Lung Association and Black Lung Clinics Support New Dust Rule

Yesterday the National Black Lung Association and the National Coalition of Black Lung and Respiratory Disease Clinics announced their support of the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s new rule which is meant to protect coal miners from black lung disease.

The National Black Lung Association said:

The National Black Lung Association and various chapters around the country have advocated for this type of rule for many years. We are applauding the Mine Safety and Health Administration for their efforts in preventing this disease. The rule also contains language to expand medical surveillance for miners. In the past, underground coal miners had to be provided a chest x-ray by their employer every five years. Now miners, both surface and underground, will be eligible for chest x-rays and pulmonary function testing to determine if he/she has the disease. According to retired miner, Joseph Massie, “This is long overdue. Miners have known since 1969 that black lung was a preventable disease. And yet, we are still being disabled and dying from it. 76,000 miners have died from black lung since 1968. That’s 76,000 deaths that could have been prevented if there was good ventilation in the mines.”

The National Coalition of Black Lung and Respiratory Disease Clinics said it is “fully behind” the new rule.

Implementation of this rule on August 1 fulfills the promise Congress made in 1969 to end black lung disease. This new rule will save miners’ lives, reduce the incidences of black lung and improve the work environment at our nation’s mines. Miners and their families deserve these protections.

4 Responses to “National Black Lung Association and Black Lung Clinics Support New Dust Rule”

  1. Patsy Ball

    This letter was written on behalf of Dennis A. Ball and you can see the date on it. Mr. Ball dictated this letter over several days.

    Dennis A Ball
    379 Pasture Rd
    Cedar Bluff, Virginia

    DOB -01/09/1956
    Department of Labor:
    John Harvay,
    We have just received Department of Labor decision of a denial of Black Lung Benefits. We have tried to go through this process depending on our own knowledge .Evidently this cannot be attempted by the coal miners many only having primary school education. I had hoped that in your specific position you could to assist all miners in this matter. Furthermore your diligence seems or appears to be lacking the ability to relate to the miners. I know that is probably not part of your job description. So this is my assumption of this process; the miner that works under these mountains and those who take care of the equipment under these mountains are also expect to know how to apply and move through this system. These men whose faces are so black that their eyes are the only physical part of the body recognizable to their loved ones, these men who have provided energy for our nation and a great majority of them served our nation in war time. I have not seen my husband hands be completely clean since our marriage. I have watched him scrub them until they are raw. When he is in public places he puts his hands in his pocket. I doubt you can identify with that. He applies Vaseline to his eyes on the weekends trying to get the coal dirt off them. I have seen my husband come home and cough up pure black mucus. Maybe you should talk to some of the funeral directors in Virginia of how they clean dead miners’ hands or maybe you could ask how many closed caskets miners are put in. I know you are thinking another sob story, I have heard this story before, and this “is another sob story”. My point exactly no family of a coal miner should have to tell you such personal feelings.
    When we started this process I read everything I could find on black lung. My understanding is limited I admit. Can you with all sincerity expect each miner to hire a lawyer and fight these big insurance brokers? By the time they asked for help from you they are so sick and afraid of not being able to work that they fall into such despair usually their family watches them just pine away. I grant you this they are not asking for handouts. They are trying to live a few years more with some sort of quality of life.
    We can’t afford lawyers and we are at their mercy as with you. Miners are not doctors or lawyers. Their language is as yours full of terms and decision and conflict. Miners know brute work because that was the way the fathers and grandfathers lived. I would also like to note on liability analysis: the claimant has never been in an underground mine. This a false statement. The responsible operator G & A Coal Company your assumption that the claimant was not on site. This is a false assumption and statement. The claimant worked about 1000 feet from the entrance (face) of the mine and less than 800 feet from the belt that carries the coal to a shoot that loads the coal trucks. Also we would like to note Dr. Forehand was on the list Mr. Harvay ask us to choose from, had we have known that this process would be based on credentials (superior) than his we would have chosen another physician. Never the less Dr. Forehand should never be considered less superior than Dr. Rosenberg. He has chosen to work in an area of extreme poverty and we have great respect for his practice he treats black lung and the effects on our on a daily basis In conclusion I know you have acquired medical knowledge, I do not think myself equipped with that knowledge. I worked with children in our public school system who had emotional and behavior problems. I have retired since my husband became sick. I do volunteer work with the children now when time allows. The statement Dr. Rosenberg made concerning his injured back will also be clarified. The claimant hurt his back several years ago at G & A Coal Company but continued to work because the owner of G & A Coal Company belonged to his cousin Gene Ball . Only now have we discovered this injury is leading to complications. I have not had much interactions with this process, but I am sure Mr. Harvay did what was required of him. This is just a suggestion , this process was supposed to become miner friendly but Mr Harvay should never assume even though he does this job day after day that information of how this process is successful depends on credentials and who entered the last medical results is very important. I would suggest he take some time and get to know the people he assists. I understand lawyers are available to us but again a great gulf of vocabulary and pride for these miners. I know with my husband going to Pikeville Kentucky was very stressful after that trip he was sick for two days
    Thank you for your time and efforts.

    These are the evidence in which we cannot agree with:
    (1) Does not show the disease was caused, at least in part, by the miners coal mine work.
    (2) Does not show the miner is totally disabled by the disease.
    The claimant Dennis A. Ball states at this time his quality of life has steadily decline in the past year.
    The claimant also states that in November 2012 was the first time he had seen a physician in years so his medical history is somewhat short, he also states he is not asking for a hand out just a hand up.

    We are requesting a review or any other action we can take to receive the help us acquire what he gave so many years of his life for. Also I would like to remind you there is no cure for Black Lung. Are you waiting until he can’t enjoy anything in life, because the is what it seems to

  2. jim lyle

    i live in utah,we have no black lung lawyers. everyone listed as one no longer does it. i need a lawyer no matter where he,s from. preferably one west of the mississippi.


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