The hard labor from coal workers contributes to keeping industries powered and producing the goods and services the rest of the world uses. However, their job is complicated by a large number of possible hazards. The constant exposure in deep shafts with little ventilation can severity compromise the health of the sinuses, throat, and lungs. Perhaps most well-known to the public of all of the afflictions that affect miners is black lung, also known as coal worker’s pneumoconiosis.Black lung causes symptoms similar to life-long tobacco smoking, which may only appear on occasion. These symptoms can include coughing and shortness of breath. With more exposure and the development of a more serious case of black lung, pulmonary hypertension and lung disorders can become symptomatic. Less common, but still associated, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders can appear. The result, without treatment, is a long-term condition that can cause serious disability.To diagnose the condition, a physician can either scan a patient’s chest or piece together symptoms and patient history to determine whether sufficient coal exposure could have led to this disease. As expected, when observing the lung, the exposure to coal dust does make the lung appear black, providing a tell-tale sign. Considering that some numbers put 25 year workers at, at most, a 10% chance of developing the disease, black lung has occurred with some frequency.Preventing black lung is part of a responsible employer’s duty to protect their employees from workplace hazards. The disease is completely preventable if proper safety standards are observed, but lax rules and enforcement or an unwillingness to provide enough safety equipment can still result in cases today. If you would like to learn more about what workers can do if they are affected by this disease, contact a workers’ compensation attorney today.