Lung Function (Spirometry) & Hearing Loss (Audiometry) Tests


Audiometry
Regulated under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 Act, employees exposed to a wide audio range require continued health surveillance. Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is one of the most prevalent and irreversible industrial diseases and if left unchecked, can prompt early retirement on ill-health grounds.

The HSE recommends a full risk assessment programme, ensuring comprehensive hearing protection, reduction and restriction to help prevent unnecessary hearing loss. A baseline audiogram is assessed and subsequent regular hearing checks are suggested to measure an individuals hearing loss over time.

Over 1 million people in Great Britain are exposed to noise levels that put their hearing at risk and as such contribute to hearing loss.

The following industries carry a greater risk to noise exposure and hearing loss:-
Construction
Demolition and road repair
Woodworking
Plastics Processing
Engineering
Textiles manufacture
General fabrication
Forging, pressing or stamping
Paper or board making
Canning and bottle making
Foundries
The entertainments industry

The following tools can cause noise induced hearing loss:-
Hammering
Drop forging
Pneumatic impact tools etc
Drills
Chainsaws
Explosive sources, guns, detonators or cartridge operated tools

Lung Function
This may be an individual risk factor in your business as prolonged exposure to inhaled substances can cause Occupational Asthma and respiratory problems and this can lead to the requirement for lung function tests.

Similarly to the audio tests, for the lung function tests a base-line is undertaken and the frequency of further lung function tests are judged on the level of exposure. These lung function tests are usually conducted more frequently in the first two years of employment, when reaction and damage can surface.

Substances responsible for most causes of occupational asthma and that may require lung function tests are:-

Isocyanides – vehicle spray painting, foam manufacturing

Flour/grain/hay – handling grain at docks, milling, malting, baking

Glutaraldehyde – disinfecting instruments

Wood dusts – sawmilling, woodworking

Electronic soldering flux – soldering, electronic assembly

Latex – protective gloves for health care, motor vehicle repair, beauticians etc.

Laboratory animals –laboratory animal work

Some glues/ resins – curing of epoxy resins

Respiratory sensitizers are subject to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002

For further useful information on Lung Function and Hearing Loss Tests please contact us at enquiries@occupationalmedicals.co.uk or telephone 0844 310 9319.

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