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Occupational Health Services Health Surveillance First Aid Training Sickness Absence Management
Established 1963 Registered Company No: 712806 Registered Charity No: 222649
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© Copyright ROHS 2016
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‘Spiro’ is the Greek word for breath and Spirometry is defined as the measurement of breathing.
Lung function tests have long been recognised as one of the most important tests available to assess lung impairment. In recent years there has been an increase in the performance of these test in Occupational Health. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2004, state that if an occupational asthma agent is present in the workplace, appropriate health surveillance is required. We do not yet know what all the agents are which induce occupational asthma, and the list is continually being added to.
In some cases the requirement for lung function testing is fairly obvious, i.e. isocyantes, solder flux, epoxy resin, curing agents. However, it can be all to easy to overlook many other commonplace industrial hazards such as wood dust, fibreglass, welding fumes, etc. Given the lengthy development time of symptoms in occupational lung disease, the lung function test can form a valuable part of Initial Screening for New Starters, where prospective employees are likely to be exposed to a potential hazard.
Early knowledge of the incidence of disease made available by lung function testing makes it possible to take effective remedial action promptly and so minimise future liability.
SPIROMETRY SCREENING PROCESS
After completing a general respiratory questionnaire, the lung function test will be carried out using a Spirometer. Results will be discussed with the employee and a summary report of the results will be forwarded to the employer. If any abnormalities are detected, a referral will be made to the company Medical Officer or the employees GP.
Each test takes approximately 15 minutes and can be carried out at our medical centre or at company premises.
WHO SHOULD I SCREEN?
All employees who have been identified by your risk assessment as being exposed to respiratory irritants, sensitisers and nuisance dusts.
FREQUENCY OF TEST (as a guide)
Testing should be carried out annually for any employees exposed to sensitisers, irritants , dusts, fumes, etc.
For new employees, a baseline test should be carried out at Initial Medical Assessment. If employees are working with respiratory sensitising agents the test will need to be repeated 6-weekly, 12-weekly, 6-monthly, then annually thereafter.
If any abnormalities are detected then more frequent testing may be required to monitor the situation more closely.