Respiratory Hazard Exposures Reduced by Testing

A pair of guidance documents, one for workers and one for employers, describing the use of spirometry testing to help reduce and prevent worker exposure to respiratory hazards has been developed by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Spirometry is a common pulmonary function test measuring how well a person moves air in and out of the lungs. Workers who inhale some types of dusts, gases or other air contaminants can, over time, experience lung damage. The spirometry test may detect breathing problems or significant changes in a worker’s lung function at an early stage. The information in these new guidance documents assists employers with identifying and eliminating hazardous workplace exposures and helping reduce or prevent the chances of workers developing lung disease. (WCxKit)
The new information sheet for employers clarifies what spirometry is, when it is needed, and critical elements employers can use to evaluate the quality of spirometry services provided to their workers. The sheet also describes how monitoring workers’ lung function over time can help individuals by identifying problems early and make the workplace safer by identifying when workplace respiratory hazards are causing problems that must be corrected.
The companion document, OSHA-NIOSH Worker Info, explains to workers the importance of taking a spirometry test, what to do during the test, their right to receive an explanation and copy of test results.
OSHA also recommends spirometry testing for workers exposed to diacetyl and diacetyl substitutes. Diacetyl is a by-product of fermentation and used to add flavor to some foods which may be dangerous to workers over a long period of exposure. The agency recently issued a bulletin and a companion worker alert on Diacetyl and Substitutes. (WCxKit)
These documents recommend employers include spirometry testing in their medical surveillance programs to identify workers experiencing adverse health effects from exposure to flavorings, including food flavorings containing diacetyl.

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See for more information. or 860-553-6604.
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
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