Respiratory Health Surveillance

Respiratory Health Surveillance

Respiratory health surveillance is required where there is  residual risk to health following the implementation of your safe system of work.  Occupational hygiene measurements may indicate that your air contaminents are high or near the Workplace Exposure Limits.

Respiratory health surveillance includes:

  • A full occupational and exposure history – this is the most important part and it should not be issues for completion prior to the test but completed with the occupational health professional during the test to get accurate information.
  • Past medical history
  • Spirometry – minimum of 3 fast blasts maximum of 8, ensuring that the results are within a 5% tolerance
  • Comparison of current results with previous results
  • Interpretation and explanation of the results to the individual
  • Provision of HSE information leaflet ‘save your breath’
  • Completion of ‘surveillance report form’ for Personnel Records.
  • Chest x-rays and Occupational Physician may be required for exposure to dusts and certain fibres.

How long does it take?

  • Normal surveillance takes 30 minutes including the questionnaire being completed with the employee.
  • Where respiratory problems or process barriers (e.g. communication difficulties) are identified, it may take longer.

How often should surveillance be done?

  • At pre-employment for a baseline of lung function and previous exposure is taken.
  • After: 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months for occupational asthma risks
  • And then every 12 months

What happens if abnormalities are detected?

  • A Peak flow meter is given to the individual for 2 weeks of 2 hourly readings.
  • Results of the above are reviewed and diurnal variations are considered.
  • Referral to specialist is arranged. All COSHH assessments and Data Hazard Sheets are forwarded to the Specialist prior to the appointment. Bronchial challenge testing may be required.
  • If diagnosis of occupational lung disease is made, the disease should be reported to the Health and Safety Executive under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).
  • Risk assessments should be reviewed in light of diagnosis and the individual’s fitness for work may need to be reconsidered.

Want to find out more?

For more information about our respiratory health services, contact us