|Description:||This historic image, provided by the Center for Disease Control's (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), depicted two miners inside a coal mine as they were operating a mechanized coal bin loader. The loader was excavating raw ore from the walls of the mine shaft, and then dumping the ore into a wooden railcar. Of importance, was the fact that neither miner was wearing protective breathing gear, which would have filtered the dust-laden air prior to inhalation by the miners. Due to the inescapable presence of airborne coal dust in the small confines of a mine, miners are predisposed to the long-term negative health effects of this profession such as “black lung disease”, or “coal-workers’ pneumoconiosis” (CWP). Today, the Federal government’s stringent regulations on the level of coal dust permissible in the air of a coal mine, and the requisite use of filtered breathing devices, has dramatically lowered the number of cases of black lung disease.|
The NIOSH Historic Photo Collection began as the “picture file” of the Industrial Hygiene Division of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), c. 1930-1960. It is a unique collection of mid-20th Century images of American workers and workplaces and documents occupational safety and health research of that era. The collection consists of approximately 1,000 original photographs and schematic drawings.