Workplace lung function testing

Occupational Health Surveillance an Imperative in Some Cases

Posted By Kerry Budworth on 2016-09-14 21:25

Even if protective measures are in place sometimes workplace health surveillance is an imperative

A recent case where a bakery in Hertforshire was fined by the HSE reminded us that even in the case where protective measures are in place, sometimes health surveillance is still an imperative. Let us explain. 

The bakery was fined for a series of issues but one caught our attention. One of the failings was that lung function surveillance was not provided for its staff. In this case, exposure to flour dust was a concern, and even after HSE had set out improvements the company had failed to comply within the set time. It cost them £36,000 and costs after HSE took them to court. 

Health Surveillance a Necessity

As I said, it reminded me that in some cases, certain forms of health surveillance are a necessity, an imperative. Even if you have taken measures to protect your employees, in some cases you will still need to provide certain forms of health surveillance. The HSE say that:

"Where some risk remains and there is likely to be harm caused to your employees, you will need to take further steps. Consider health surveillance if your employees are at risk from:

  • noise or vibration
  • solvents, dusts, fumes, biological agents and other substances hazardous to health
  • asbestos, lead or work in compressed air
  • ionising radiation

Control measures may not always be reliable, despite appropriate checking and maintenance, so health surveillance can help make sure that any ill health effects are detected as early as possible."

Workplace Lung Function Testing

Workplace spirometery is often an imperative within some industries, for instance within a bakery or within motor vehicle repair. In fact it is an imperative in any industry where workers could be exposed to dusts or fumes. 

Workplace Biological Monitoring

Again, in many industries biological monitoring for isocyanates and other chemicals is imperative.  Again, even if protective measures are in place, biological monitoring allows you to know that the measures are in fact working and also act as an early warning measure that they aren't. 

These are just two workplace health surveillance tests that are important, there are others. The key thing to remember is that no matter what protective measures are in place, you may still need a health surveillance strategy. 

If you have any questions about health and safety requirements for your business, occupational health screening and when you need it or any other matter we can help with, call us on 01455 234 600 or contact us online now.