ILO International Classification of Radiographs of Pneumoconioses

Document | 17 November 2011

The ILO International Classification of Radiographs of Pneumoconioses is a powerful tool used throughout the world to improve workers’ health surveillance, conduct epidemiological research and make comparisons of statistical data. Some countries have established legal requirements for use of the Classification in the assessment of compensation claims, although the Classification was not originally designed for this purpose. The value of the Classification depends critically on the consistency with which users apply the Guidelines published by the ILO and the standard radiographs that accompany those Guidelines.

In the continuing struggle to protect the health of workers occupationally exposed to airborne dusts, the ILO has for many years sought to improve the understanding of pneumoconiosis problems. The Guidelines for the use of the ILO International Classification of Radiographs of Pneumoconioses (revised edition 2011) is the latest version of a well-established publication designed to standardize classification methods and facilitate international comparisons of pneumoconiosis statistics and research reports.

This revised edition of the Guidelines supplements the preceding 2000 edition with an entirely new Chapter 6. This chapter extends the applicability of the ILO scheme to classifications of results from digital radiographic images of the chest. The ILO Standard Digital Images (ILO 2011-D), which derive from the ILO (2000) standard radiographs, have been produced for this purpose.

The new text in chapter 6 identifies principles for viewing digitally acquired images of the chest and covers effective acquisition, display and storage of digital images. The Foreword to this revised edition defines the nomenclature used to distinguish different types of chest images.

The earlier (2000) Guidelines for classification of conventionally acquired “film-screen” radiography remain applicable. The relevant text from the earlier (2000) edition is reproduced in this edition, and the associated sets of standard radiographs remain available from the ILO.