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Asbestos Health Surveillance


Asbestos Health Surveillance

It is critical that where employees are working with, or exposed to, asbestos that their employer provides health monitoring.

This should occur prior to exposure and at regular intervals thereafter.

It is also important that any changes in an employee’s health due to asbestos exposure is notified to the relevant workplace health & safety agency for the jurisdiction.

VaxWorks partners with one of Australia’s leading occupational health providers who have clinics across Australia.

On notification that an employee requires an asbestos medical, VaxWorks will provide a referral letter to the employee with information regarding their appointment and any forms etc that the employee needs to complete prior to their appointment.

VaxWorks‘ occupational health partner will provide the following services:

Baseline health monitoring required before starting asbestos-related work.
This health monitoring consists of the following components:

  • Collection of demographic data
  • Work history
  • Medical history
  • Physical examination – A physical examination will only be conducted if indicated by work and medical history. Emphasis will be on the respiratory system.
  • Investigation – Standardised respiratory function tests will be conducted to determine the worker’s baseline respiratory function. Current evidence does not support screening for lung cancer with chest radiography or sputum cytology.

Monitoring exposure to asbestos during asbestos-related work.
If a worker is carrying out asbestos-related work, the Work Health and Safety Regulations require health monitoring is conducted prior to the worker commencing the work. The frequency of health monitoring should be determined by a risk assessment and the significance and frequency of past or future exposure. Health monitoring should be conducted at regular intervals, for example once every two years.

Monitoring should include administration of the standardised respiratory questionnaire. It would not ordinarily include respiratory function tests, chest X-ray or physical examination unless clinical indications are present or they are recommended by the medical practitioner.

A final medical examination at the termination of asbestos-related work.
A final medical examination will be conducted with emphasis on the respiratory system.

Following each appointment, VaxWorks will be provided with a copy of the report which will be entered into our clinical software and passed onto Johnson & Johnson to ensure that records are retained for the required 40-year period.

VaxWorks will also set up a recall for this employee and ensure that copies of past reports are supplied to the service provider should this change.