1] Pulmonary function test

Regulation:- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 (COSHH)

Why do you need it?

This worker group are potentially exposed to two pack polyurethane paints and lacquers. The hardening agent used is frequently an isocyanate. Isocyanates are potent causes of occupational asthma and can cause sensitisation on a single exposure. “High level” health surveillance should be adopted for this group, as recommended in HSE leaflet G402. This requires the health surveillance arrangements to involve an occupational health professional. Early tests are required for new bodyshop employees, and given the nature of the risk we recommend that 6 monthly checks are subsequently carried out. The development of occupational asthma has serious consequences for the employee, but if detected early chronic symptoms can be prevented. In circumstances where there is an indication that an employee may be developing symptoms of asthma Company Health Services can undertake more specialised testing using a Diarycard recording spirometer. This helps to determine the work relatedness of the symptoms. Delay in diagnosis should be avoided and we therefore recommend a more frequent testing regime.

How is it carried out?

Employee's pulmonary function is assessed through a respiratory questionnaire, followed by checking their lung capacity using a spirometer.

2] Skin examination

Regulation:- The Contol of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 (COSHH)

Dermatitis in the workplace can be caused by some of the following:

  • Disinfectants
  • Sealants
  • Release agents
  • Degreasers and detergents
  • Grease and oils
  • Surface coatings
  • Paint solvents
  • Resins and hardeners

Our trained occupational health advisers can identify cases of dermatitis and make recommendations on fitness to work, skin care and protection, and other means of avoiding occupational dermatitis.

3] Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) tests

Regulation:- The Control of Vibration at Work 2005

What is Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome?

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome can occur following the prolonged use of vibrating hand tools which can cause disabling disorders of the nerves, joints and blood vessels.  This type of damage can result in the inability to carry out fine work, with cold weather triggering attacks of finger blanching.  Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome is a serious and sometimes disabling condition with nearly 2 million people at risk.  It is preventable, however once the damage is done it is permanent.

For more information on HAVS please visit the HSE website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/index.htm

How is it carried out?

We undertake HAVS health checks in line with the HSE Tiered Scheme Of Health Surveillance.  We obtain information on each individual's exposure to HAVS using a questionnaire and we make recommendations on future work with vibratory hand tools, the prevention of development or progression of HAVS, and the wearing of protective gloves.

We are also able to take measurements of vibration emissions from vibratory hand tools and make recommendations on the daily length of use of these tools, so as to reduce the risk of HAVS. The equipment that we use is the Larson Davis HVM 100 Human Vibration Meter. We also have timing meters that allow the daily usage of individual vibratory hand tools to be measured accurately.

4] Audiometry

Regulation:- The Noise at Work Regulations 2005

Occupational hearing loss is preventable, however once an individuals hearing has been lost or damaged it cannot be repaired.  Approximately 17,000 people in the UK suffer from deafness or tinnitus caused by excessive noise exposure at work.

For more information on noise in the work place please visit the HSE website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/noise/index.htm

What we do

A detailed questionnaire is completed prior to pure tone audiometry testing. We use modern semiautomatic audiometers for the audiometric test, and this is performed on site. We provide a lifetime hearing chart for each employee being tested. This clearly shows any fall in hearing level which is easily understood by the employee. The chart also identifies whether the person needs specialist referral or whether they need to take extra care in wearing their hearing protection.

We are able to undertake noise surveys in workshop areas using both Personal Dosimeters and Sound Pressure meters. We use Casella intrinsically safe Personal Dosimeters.  Noise survey measurements have shown noise levels in many bodyshops to be in excess of both the daily limit (Lepd) and peak noise level.  It is therefore essential to check on hearing loss for all technicians on a regular basis.

5] Painters : Urine test for isocyanates

The HSE has recommended that the level of isocyanate metabolites in the urine of spray painters be checked annually to meet the requirements of COSHH Regulation 10. We are able to undertake these tests. A report on the results is provided.