Spirometry Testing in the workplace

Spirometry in The Workplace

Posted By Kerry Budworth on 2015-08-06 20:37

Respiratory Disease in Industry

The term work-related respiratory disease covers a range of differing illnesses that are caused, or made worse by breathing in hazardous substances in the workplace. This substances such as dusts, fumes and gases, are varied from industry to industry but all will damage the lungs . The most prevalent of these workplace caused diseases are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and silicosis. 

Occupational asthma is a major occupational health problem. If you detect an employee’s symptoms early enough and reduce their exposure, you will reduce their risk of developing full-blown asthma. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a serious long-term lung disease in which the flow of air into the lungs is gradually reduced by inflammation of the air passages and damage to the lung tissue.

Chronic Bronchitis and emphysema are common types of COPD. Workplace exposures likely to contribute to COPD include various dusts (including, coal, grain, and silica) as well as certain fumes and chemicals (including welding fume, isocyanates, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons).

Frightening Statistics

Here are some of the statistics in relation to work related respiratory disease in the United Kingdom. There are approximately 12,000 deaths each and every year due to occupational respiratory diseases. Currently, two-thirds of these deaths are due to asbestos-related diseases or COPD. In addition, there are about 35, 000 people who worked in the last year, and 130,000 who had ever worked who currently have breathing or lung problems they thought were caused or made worse by work and a further estimated 13,000 new cases.

Industries With Greatest Risk

There are a number of industries and workplace activities which are linked to a high incidence of respiratory disease. They are also recognised as industries of greater risk, either because there is a large amount of the workforce potentially exposed or there is existing evidence of a high incidence rate. The industries are as follows:

  • Construction workers
  • Foundry workers
  • Welders
  • Quarry and stone workers
  • Agricultural workers
  • Vehicle paint sprayers
  • Bakery workers

Main causes of Workplace Respiratory Disease

Isocyanates (eg two-pack spray paints), flour dust, grain dust, glutaraldehyde, wood dust, latex (powdered natural rubber latex gloves), rosin-cored solder fume, laboratory animals or glues and resins can all cause occupational asthma.

What Are Your Legal Duties As An Employer?

If you are in any industry where workers might be exposed to hazardous substances, lung function tests are mandatory . Lung function tests should be undertaken to acquire a baseline for future reference and they can also be used to assess employees’ fitness to work. Lung function testing should be performed on all employees potentially exposed to irritant dusts, gases and vapours in the workplace.

Who Should Have Lung Function Tests in The Workplace?

Lung function tests are advisable for employees working with acknowledged ‘respiratory sensitizers’, such as products known to cause occupational asthma, like isocyanates, ‘aldehydes’, flour and wood dust. The tests must be provided regularly, unless the employer is confident that hazard and risk to health is fully controlled.

Workplace Lung Function Tests Nationwide

HealthScreen offers a UK wide, on-site lung function testing service (spirometry). We use expert, trained technicians, and equipment and methods that comply with the latest standards. Our spirometry tests are convenient, easy to do and will cause minimal disruption to your work schedule. Each lung-function test only takes between 15 to 20 minutes per person.

Analysis of the findings is provided in a confidential format, and employees requiring referral to an occupational health practitioner/GP are confidentially identified. A report containing anonymous data is also provided.

We have years of experience providing Lung Function Testing services to enable compliance with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations. We provide Spirometry Tests and Workplace Lung Function Tests with expert technical advice and interpretation of the findings, as well as cost effective and practical recommendations for solutions.

In the long term, these Lung Function Tests can help you proactively manage your employee health and prevent work-related health issues from arising.

If you are looking for health & Safety services in Leicester, or you are looking for help with your health and safety strategy, call us on 01455 234 600 or contact us online now. 

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