Respirator Evaluations and Exams
An estimated 5 million workers are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million workplaces throughout the United States. Respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors and sprays that could be hazardous to workers' health. These workplace hazards are very dangerous and long-term exposure may cause cancer, lung impairment and in some cases death.
Employees who require the use of a respirator must be medically screened before they begin using them.
Sharp Rees-Stealy Occupational Medicine provides employers with the respiratory medical evaluation required by law and physical examinations for employees. Even though the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) only requires a questionnaire, we recommend a hands-on medical examination for all respirator use with the exception of dust masks.
At Sharp Rees-Stealy, our examination consists of a medical history, physical examination and pulmonary function testing. Additional tests such as chest x-rays and treadmill tests may be needed depending on the results of the screening examination.
This in-depth examination is done not only for the protection of the employee but also to minimize risk exposure specific to the worksite of each employee. After the medical evaluation is complete, Sharp Rees-Stealy provides documentation certifying the employee to use the respirator.
The respirator medical evaluation that Sharp provides is just one of the eight elements mandated by law for implementing respiratory protection programs. It is the employers' responsibility to establish and implement a written respirator program with worksite specific procedures that cover the following elements:
- Respirator selection
- Medical evaluations
- Use of respirators
- Maintenance and care of respirators
- Breathing air quality and use
- Training and information
- Program evaluation
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