Self-heating of coal waste is a major problem in the leading coal-producing and consuming countries, independent of the recent or past coal exploitation history. The phenomenon of self-heating is dependent on many factors such as the properties of organic matter (maceral composition and rank), moisture and pyrite content, climate effects, and storage conditions (shape of the dump or compaction of the coal waste). Once deposited, coal waste undergoes oxidation, which can lead to self-heating with the overall temperatures exceeding 1000 degrees C. During these self-heating processes, both organic and mineral matter undergo oxidative and thermal alterations, being influenced, among others, by the rate of heating as well as by the access of air and moisture. The morphological features of organic matter in coal waste at microscopic scale reflect the thermal conditions within the waste dump. Since 2008, several exercises designed to establish a petrographic classification system of oxidatively- and thermally-altered morphological forms of organic particles present in self-heated coal waste dumps have been carried out within the Self-heating of Coal and Coal Waste Working Group (Self-Heating WG), in Commission III of the International Committee for Coal and Organic Petrology (ICCP). Based on the degree of oxidative and thermal alteration, all assessed organic particles were divided into unaltered particles (huminite, vitrinite, liptinite, and inertinite macerals), altered particles, and newly formed particles (pyrolytic carbon, bitumen, chars, graphite, and coke). Altered particles were further divided according to their optical properties (porous, massive; isotropic, anisotropic). For altered particles the following specific features were distinguished: fractures, fissures, cracks; brighter rims; darker rims; plasticised edges; bands; devolatilisation pores; paler in colour particles. The final petrographic classification of oxidatively- and thermally-altered morphological forms of organic particles in coal waste dumps was established as a result of the successively performed Round Robin Exercises 2008-2017. The selected criteria and categories proved the high performance of the analysts characterised by a minor bias. The proposed petrographic classification system based on petrographic methods represents a useful way to characterize the undesirable phenomena occurring in coal waste dumps. Microscopic analyses and application of the petrographic classification system for organic particles affected by self-heating in coal waste offers the identification, documentation and monitoring of coal waste oxidation, self-ignition and combustion processes. It also enables a selection and application of appropriate measures to delay or even prevent undesired environmental impacts. The established classification system may assist in the air quality monitoring and assessment of burning waste dump sites and, thus, provide a relevant support in the environmental management of the disposal sites related to coal mining. The classification system can provide an important instrument for environmental protection agencies to increase the effectiveness of measures applied in fire hazard combating. The proposed classification of oxidatively- and thermally-altered morphological forms of organic particles in coal waste dumps can be applied on self-heating coal waste or mining dumps research, being a useful tool for coal waste managements performed by environmental agencies responsible for the landfill managements and monitoring of waste dumps.