Otago Polytechnic

Occupational Health Monitoring

Section
Corporate
Approval Date
2 May 2012
Approved By
Chief Executive
Responsibility
Deputy Chief Executive: People, Culture and Safety
Baldrige Criteria
Workforce focus
Purpose

To ensure that staff at Otago Polytechnic Limited (Ltd) are screened for occupational health conditions, relative to the hazards they may be exposed to at work.

The purpose of this screening is:

  • to comply with Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
  • to establish if current hazard identification and controls are effective i.e. whether harm is, or is not, being caused to staff
  • to provide feedback to the individual staff member and management, and general (anonymised) feedback to school/programmes/service area staff and the Health and Safety Committees
  • to check that job applicants have the ability to do the tasks required in a safe manner for specified roles
Compliance
Policy
  • Where good Health and Safety risk management process indicates that it is appropriate to do so, Otago Polytechnic Ltd will conduct occupational health screening and monitoring for potential, current and departing employees.
  • Employee consent must be obtained prior to screening/monitoring.
  • The result/feedback will be given to the individual and manager by the appropriately qualified tester.

1.          Potential employees (Pre-employment Occupational Screening)

  • The purpose of the health screen is to assess an individual’s ability to safely do the work tasks required of the job. This includes consideration of potential aggravation to an existing health condition. It is not intended to exclude or discriminate. It provides baseline measurements for ongoing occupational monitoring e.g. hearing.
  • As part of the recruitment process, the Head of College/Formal Leader is to advise the Health and Safety Advisors when they are recruiting for a position and/or a new staff member is short listed for work in an area where either:

a)             occupational screening is required; and/or

b)             significant hazards exist, such as heavy manual handling, respiratory hazards, hazardous machinery, etc.

  • The Health and Safety advisors will arrange pre-employment baseline screening with the individual as soon as possible.
  • Individual’s health records are kept confidential to Health and Safety staff.
  • Prior to any offer of employment being made to the job applicant, a summary result is provided by the Health and Safety Advisors to the appointing manager, to inform them if they are:

a)             fit for full duties

b)             fit for selected duties

c)             require follow up (further assessment, etc)

2.          Current employees

  • Consent is obtained from the individual for the testing and for release of their result, this being given to the manager of the school/service area and the Health and Safety Advisors.
  • Individual’s health records are kept confidential to Health and Safety staff.
  • The purpose of the summary result information being provided to management is to enable their proactive management of Health and Safety for their staff by informing them of successful hazard management (no harm having occurred), or to identify where remedial attention is required. For example, to reduce hazardous noise in a particular work area, or increase monitoring of the wearing of hearing protection.

3.            Post Critical Event Testing

  • In the event of a critical event or, accident or incident where individual’s health may have been harmed, health testing/screening may be required to assess or treat any injury with the employee’s consent.

4.          Exit screening

  • Staff members who are about to leave Otago Polytechnic Ltd and who have worked in areas where occupational health screening is a requirement, are to have relevant tests performed prior to their departure.
  • The Head of College/Formal Leader is to advise the Health and Safety Advisors of any staff leaving from a work area where either occupational screening is required, and/or significant hazards exist, such as heavy manual handling, respiratory hazards, hazardous machinery etc.
  • The Health and Safety Advisors will then arrange appropriate screening with the individual.

5.          Reporting
The appropriately qualified tester will provide:

  • to the individual, his/her result at the time of test
  • to the Health and Safety Advisors: the summary result of each individual staff member, and the summary results for each department

The Health and Safety Advisors will report to

a)              Head of College /Formal Leader – confidential report on summary results for their school/service area

b)             departmental staff and Health and Safety Committees - the general results of screening. Information will be communicated in a way that does not identify any individual. For example, a graph diagram, showing number of normal and abnormal results. 

Recommendations will be made where remedial and/or preventative measures are required.

6.          Types of Screening

a)              Audiology

Audiology screening is conducted for staff who work in noisy environments which exceed 85 dbA for 8 hours, or are exposed to intense periods of excessive noise, to have their hearing tested annually. Examples are staff working in carpentry, engineering workshops, sculpture workshops, arboriculture.

Audiometry screening:

  • is by interview including history; audiometry; ear examination as appropriate
  • is performed by a suitably qualified person eg occupational health nurse is performed at Otago Polytechnic Limited in a quiet and private room
  • staff are given their result at the time of testing and information/education on preventative measures

If abnormal results occur:

  • The individual is informed at the time of the test. A follow-up test is arranged

            – early in the shift and/or prior to noise exposure.

  • If this test is also abnormal, a referral is made to the individual’s GP, recommending a referral be made to an ENT specialist for further assessment and diagnosis. The GP or specialist may lodge an ACC claim for noise-induced hearing loss.
  • The Otago Polytechnic Ltd Health and Safety Advisors will be advised by ACC if an ACC claim has been accepted for noise-induced hearing loss with work- related cause.
  • An Incident and Accident Report Form is completed with the individual, copied to the Formal Leader and health and safety representative.

b)              Lung function screening

Lung function screening is conducted for staff who work with red/hard woods; regularly weld; weld hazardous metals

Lung function screening:

  • is performed by a suitably qualified person e.g. occupational health nurse is performed at Otago Polytechnic Ltd in a private location
  • is annual screening, or six monthly where indicated
  • staff are given results of their test at the time and information/ education on preventative measures

If abnormal results occur:

  • The individual is informed of abnormality at the time of the test. A follow-up test is arranged where indicated.
  • If this test is also abnormal, a referral is made to the individual’s GP, recommending a referral be made to a specialist for further assessment. An ACC claim may be lodged at that time.
  • The Otago Polytechnic Ltd Health and Safety Advisors will be advised by ACC if a claim is accepted for diagnosed lung disease from work-related cause.
  • An Incident and Accident Report Form is completed with the individual, copied to manager and health and safety representative.

7.      Calibration

The Health and Safety Advisors will ensure all equipment used in occupational health monitoring (including audiometer and spirometer) are regularly serviced, calibrated, and meet relevant standards.

References

Policies

  • Recruitment and Selection of Staff