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Health Surveillance

Health surveillance is never an alternative to the proper control of exposure.  It is not the same as health screening or health promotion.

The COSHH Regulations (2002) require that health surveillance is undertaken on employees who are exposed, or liable to be exposed, to certain substances that may cause harm to their health. These may be chemical, physical or biological hazards and will be indicated by your risk assessment.

Spirometry

Spirometry is the most common form of measuring lung function. It is an important tool that is used in health surveillance to monitor and assess employees who work with substances that can cause occupational lung disease. Lung function testing is compliant with health surveillance requirements as laid down by the COSHH Regulations (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulations 2002 for substances identified as respiratory sensitisers.

There are a number of trade specific respiratory sensitisers, all of which can cause occupational lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or occupational asthma. This is not a complete list and reference should be made to COSHH Regulations. Normally health surveillance requirement, specifically lung function/spirometry, is indicated in work activities which involve:

  • Isocyanates
  • Vehicle spray paint
  • Soldering
  • Wood work
  • Laboratory animal work
  • Bakers
  • Welding
  • Paints, adhesives, resins
  • Engineering
  • Cleaning
  • Motor Repair
  • Printing
  • Asbestos
  • Silica dust

Occupational asthma is an important health problem with serious implications for both affected individuals and employers. Prevention depends on reducing the risk from exposure to substances known to cause occupational asthma, the early recognition of individual cases and previously unsuspected causative agents. The employer’s COSHH assessment should identify the presence of substances known to cause asthma in the workplace, the risks to health, the measures to prevent or control exposure and processes for health surveillance.

Skin

Could your employees be at risk of skin disease at work? Jobs where workers’ hands are frequently wet or exposed to specific dusts, chemicals or latex gloves can result in contact or allergic skin reactions. These conditions can become chronic and disabling if appropriate advice, investigation and, in some instances, treatment isn’t given.

Many employees are at risk of skin disease in their everyday jobs. Some skin problems such as dermatitis may be reportable to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR), if work is identified to be the cause.

If one of your employees develops a serious work-related skin disease, it could affect their ability to work and, in the worst cases, they may have to stop work altogether. If this happens, you could be at risk of litigation or prosecution. We can help you manage this risk.

Relevant legislation:

  • COSHH Regulations 2002
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
Health Surveillance

Audiometry

Audiometry is a method of hearing check which measures the sensitivity of hearing over a range of sound frequencies; it is intended for individuals who are, or may be exposed to, loud noise at work and at risk of noise induced hearing loss.

Employers need to provide health surveillance, or hearing checks, for all workers regularly exposed to noise measured above 85dB (decibels).

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 provides a comprehensive framework for the control of Noise at Work. The regulations place a general duty on employers to reduce the risk of hearing damage to the lowest level reasonably practicable and contain other requirements which have to be implemented when certain noise levels are reached.

If The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, indicates that there is a risk to the health of the employees exposed to noise, then the employer shall ensure that such employees are placed under suitable health surveillance, which includes testing their hearing.

Audiometry can be carried out at Occupational Health in the Audiometric Booth or at the company in a quiet room (if ambient noise levels are suitable).

Hand-arm vibration

Hand-arm vibration (HAV) exposure at work can arise from the use of handheld power tools, hand-guided machinery and hand-fed machines. Prolonged and regular exposure to this vibration may affect the operator’s health. The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 requires all employers to have health surveillance in place where people are at risk.

Health surveillance must be in place for employees who are exposed above the action value (2.5m/s A (8)) and for employees who are sensitive to vibration to minimise the risk of the disease progression

Please Contact us for further information and details regarding pricing

OH

Your Local Occupational Health Provider

Occupational Health & Travel Clinic Isle of Wight
St Mary’s Hospital 
Newport 
Isle of Wight
PO30 5TG

Tel: 01983 822099 ext. 4209 
Fax: 534165
Email: occupationalhealth@iow.nhs.uk

Monday-Friday 0830-1630

 

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