Hazardous Substance Health Monitoring

Health monitoring (or Health Surveillance) is the monitoring of a worker to identify changes in their health status because of exposure to hazardous chemicals or asbestos through their working environment. It involves experienced doctors examining and supervising the health monitoring of your workers to see if the exposure to hazardous chemicals or asbestos at work is affecting their health. If you are not sure and need to discuss your concerns or workplace exposure please contact our Specialist Team for assistance.

The Sonic HealthPlus Specialist Services Team are available to discuss any concerns or questions regarding workplace exposure.

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A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must ensure health monitoring is provided to a worker if the worker:

  • is carrying out ongoing work using, handling, generating or storing hazardous chemicals, and there is a significant risk to the worker’s health because of exposure to a hazardous chemical listed in Schedule 14 to the WHS Regulations
  • is carrying out ongoing work using, handling, generating or storing hazardous chemicals and there is a significant risk the worker will be exposed to hazardous chemicals other than those listed in Schedule 14 and either:
    • valid techniques are available to detect the effect on the worker’s health, or
    • a valid way of determining exposure is available and it is uncertain on reasonable grounds whether exposure has resulted in the biological exposure standard being exceeded
  • commences or is conducting lead risk work, or
  • is carrying out licensed asbestos removal or other asbestos related work.

The PCBU has a duty to determine ‘significant risk’ and to decide if a program of health monitoring is necessary. Significant risk decisions are made taking into consideration the likelihood of exposure to a hazardous chemical in conjunction with the known health effects of the chemical. Consultation with a health monitoring doctor may be needed to determine if testing for exposure to the chemical being used is available to monitor potential effects on a worker’s health status.

The PCBU, in consultation with the health monitoring doctor, should consider instigating a health monitoring program for chemicals with severe known health effects, for example chemicals that are known, or are presumed to be, carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to human reproduction, respiratory or skin sensitisers or those with other known severe toxic effects.

The health monitoring doctor will choose the best way to monitor your worker’s health and may use more than one way to monitor your worker’s health. They will choose the best way by looking at:

  • the regulatory requirements under the model WHS laws
  • the type of chemical involved
  • the way your worker is exposed
  • the level of exposure
  • if the work environment includes control methods or equipment to reduce the exposure, and
  • if it is possible to use a proactive way to monitor adverse health effects.

Proactive health monitoring means monitoring your workers before they develop symptoms. This includes checking the level of a chemical or substance in your worker’s blood or urine. Proactive monitoring is preferable to monitoring symptoms after they have developed.

Enquire about Hazardous Substance Health Monitoring

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