Two documents have been developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for spirometry testing.
Our Georgia workers' compensation attorneys know that this kind of testing will help, but not eliminate, employee exposure to respiratory hazards. A prior post to our Georgia Workers Compensation Attorney Blog illustrated the risks to workers exposed to high levels of dust that could lead to Georgia work injuries.
To determine how well your lungs breathe air in and out, a spirometry test is performed, using a spirometer. Over time, employees who inhale such contaminates as gases, dust or smoke can develop lung damage. Frequent testing can detect changes in an employee's lung function or breathing difficulties
The two guidance documents, one for workers and one for employers, provide information to help employers identify and eliminate respiratory hazards in the workplace and help workers reduce or prevent them from developing lung disease.
The new OSHA-NIOSH Infosheet for employers explains what spirometry is, the benefit it provides to their employees and when it is needed. The information also goes into detail as to how monitoring employee's lung function over time can catch early lung problems and identify respiratory hazards in the workplace that need fixing.
The employees portion of the OSHA-NIOSH Worker Infosheet, document explains the significance of taking a spirometry test, how to take the test and their right to get a copy and explanation of test results.
"Spirometry is the best available test for early detection of decreasing or abnormal lung function," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Our joint effort with NIOSH in developing these products will help broaden outreach and enhance knowledge of preventive measures aimed at protecting worker health and safety."
NIOSH was also satisfied with the joint effort.
"We are pleased to join with OSHA in emphasizing the important role of spirometry in preventing costly, debilitating, and potentially fatal occupational lung diseases," said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. "These tests are a vital component of health and safety programs in workplaces where workers may be exposed to hazardous airborne contaminants."
Spirometry testing is recommended by OSHA to identify workers having unfavorable health effects from exposure to flavorings, including food flavorings containing diacetyl and diacetyl substitutes. More information is available at Occupational Exposure to Flavoring Substances: Health Effects and Hazard Controls and Worker Alert on Diacetyl and Substitutes.