Exposures to noise, chemicals, particulates and other hazards are real threats that need to be understood, monitored, and mitigated.
Medical Surveillance is used both to satisfy regulatory requirements, such as in the case of silica dust exposure, and to maintain best practice in keeping your workforce safe and healthy.
Comprehensive screening and surveillance of medical issues is used to detect and prevent injury and reduce risk in the workplace. The presence of various occupational hazards necessitates attentive monitoring of potentially adverse health effects on employees such as crystalline silica. In addition to silica testing, WorkSTEPS designs test exposure and prevention strategies and provides medical surveillance. Our comprehensive medical surveillance includes:
Crystalline silica is a common mineral found in the earth’s crust and in materials such as sand, stone, concrete, and mortar. When these materials are cut, sawed, ground, drilled, or crushed, very small respirable particles are created. These particles are more than 100 times smaller than ordinary sand and are inhaled deep into the respiratory tract. Overall, about 2.3 million U.S. workers in many different industries are exposed to silica dust at work. The oil and gas industry is especially impacted by silica dust due to recent advancements in well stimulation (hydraulic fracking with industrial grade sand). Respirable silica dust exposure puts workers at risk of silicosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.
To better protect workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica, OSHA issued a new crystalline silica standard mandating that employers provide medical surveillance exams to workers exposed at or above the airborne silica permissible exposure level of 50 μg/m averaged over an 8-hour day for 30 days or more per year starting June 23, 2018. Starting June 23, 2020, employees exposed at or above the airborne silica action level of 25 μg/m averaged over an 8-hour day for 30 days or more per year. These exams must be performed at no cost to workers by licensed health care professionals. The standard requires that the examining clinician have a thorough knowledge of silica-related diseases and symptoms. Medical surveillance exams must be made available to exposed workers at least every three years or more frequently if recommended by the healthcare professional.
Because of the many intricacies involved, it is imperative to have direct access to medical professionals to resolve any unforeseeable complications and to help ensure compliance.
Dr. Ben Hoffman, MD, MPH, Medical Director at WorkSTEPS, is an occupational medicine specialist with more than 35 years experience managing medical surveillance programs.
Working in the presence of occupational hazards necessitates attentive monitoring of employees for potential adverse health effects. WorkSTEPS is committed to helping customers mitigate liability risk, so our Medical Surveillance programs provide recommended, OSHA-compliant screenings and physical capacity assessments, as well as continuous biological monitoring for exposure to hazardous materials.
Contact Ben today to learn more about WorkSTEPS Services, and how we can help you with the lowering injury rates and employee related health costs.
Ben Hoffman, Chief Medical Officer