Occupational Health and Exposure Monitoring
To ensure Otago Polytechnic Limited is monitoring baseline, new and ongoing environmental and personal health issues in relation to exposure to any job-related health hazard.
Note: Monitoring may involve environmental measurements (e.g., air or dust sampling, sound levels, radiation levels, etc.) or direct health monitoring of individuals (e.g., blood, urine, lung function, audiometry tests).
The purpose of this monitoring is:
- to comply with the Health and Safety at Work 2015
- to assess if an exposure is a significant hazard to health or
- to detect changes in an individual’s health that are known to be associated with exposure to a particular hazard.to establish if current hazard identification and controls are effective (e., whether harm is, or is not, being caused to individuals)
- to provide feedback to the individual and management, and general (anonymised) feedback to work area staff members 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.
The requirement for environmental and health monitoring is identified through various methods, including:
- Identification of new hazards.
- Management and monitoring of existing hazards.
- Introduction of new equipment, products, or substances to work areas.
- Changes in work process/es and procedures implemented in work areas.
- Otago Polytechnic Limited will conduct occupational health screening and/or monitoring of prospective, current, and departing staff members.
- Staff member consent must be obtained prior to screening or monitoring.
- The results/feedback will be given to the individual staff members and the Formal Leader by the appropriately qualified
1. Potential Staff Member (Pre-employment Occupational Monitoring)
The purpose of the health monitoring is to assess a job applicant’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 job-specific baseline measurements for ongoing occupational monitoring e.g., hearing.
- As part of the recruitment process, the Formal Leader is to advise the Health and Safety Team when they are recruiting for a position and/or a new staff member is shortlisted for work in an area where either:
- occupational monitoring is required; and/or
- significant hazards exist, such as heavy manual handling, respiratory hazards, hazardous machinery, etc. Job applicant’s health records are kept confidential on their personnel file, People and Culture.
- Prior to any offer of employment being made to the job applicant, a summary result is provided by Health and Safety to the appointing Formal Leader, to inform them if they are:
- fit for full duties
- fit for selected duties
- require follow up (further assessment, etc).
2. Current Staff Member
- Consent is obtained from the individual staff member for the testing, and for the release of their results to their Formal Leader, and the Health and Safety Team.
- A copy of the individual staff member’s health records are kept on their confidential personnel file.
- The purpose of the summary result information being provided to the Formal Leader is to enable their proactive management of Health and Safety for their staff members 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, accident, or incident where an individual staff member’s health may have been harmed or impacted, health monitoring may be required to assess or treat any injury with the staff member’s consent.
4. Exit Screening
Staff members who are about to leave Otago Polytechnic Limited and who have worked in areas where occupational health monitoring is a requirement, are to have relevant tests performed prior to their departure.
The Deputy Chief Executive: People, Culture, and Safety (or delegate) is to advise the Health and Safety Advisor of any staff members leaving their work area where either occupational monitoring is required, and/or significant hazards exist, such as heavy manual handling, respiratory hazards, hazardous machinery, etc.
The Health and Safety Advisor will then arrange appropriate monitoring with the individual staff member.
The appropriately qualified tester will provide:
- to the individual staff member, their result at the time of the test.
- to the Health and Safety Team: the summary result for each individual staff member, and the summary results for each work area.
The Health and Safety team will report to:
- Formal Leader providing a– confidential report on summary results for their work area.
- Te Kāhui Manukura (Executive Leadership Team), Health and Safety Sub-committee of the Board, Health and Safety Committees and staff members, providing the general results of monitoring. Information will be communicated in a way that does not identify any individual staff member. For example, a graph diagram, showing the number of normal and abnormal results.
Recommendations will be made where remedial and/or preventative measures are required.
6. Types of Health Monitoring
Audiology screening is conducted for staff members who work in noisy environments which exceed eighty-five (85) dbA for eight (8) hours, or are exposed to intense periods of excessive noise, to have their hearing tested annually. Examples are staff members working in carpentry, engineering workshops, sculpture workshops, and arboriculture.
- Is by interview including history; audiometry; ear examination as appropriate.
- Is performed by a suitably qualified person eg. Occupational Health Nurse and is performed at Otago Polytechnic Limited in a quiet and private room.
- Staff members are given their results at the time of testing and information/education on preventative measures.
If Abnormal Results Occur:
The individual staff member is informed at the time of the test. A follow-up test is arranged
– early in the normal workday and/or prior to noise exposure.
- If this test is also abnormal, a referral is made to the individual staff member’s General Practitioner (GP), recommending a referral be made to an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist for further assessment and diagnosis. The GP or specialist may lodge an Accident Compensation Commission (ACC) claim for noise-induced hearing loss.
- The Otago Polytechnic Limited Health and Safety Team will be advised by ACC if a claim has been accepted for noise-induced hearing loss with work-related cause.
- An Incident and Accident Report in Vault is completed with the individual staff member, copied to their Formal Leader and work area health and safety representative.
b) Lung Function Monitoring
Lung function screening is conducted for staff members who work with red/hardwoods; regularly weld; weld hazardous metals.
Lung Function Monitoring:
- Is performed by a suitably qualified person e.g., Occupational Health Nurse, and is performed at Otago Polytechnic Limited in a private location.
- Is annual monitoring, or six (6) monthly where indicated.
- Staff members are given results of their test at the time and information/ education on preventative measures.
If Abnormal Results Occur:
- The individual staff member is informed of the 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 staff member’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 Limited Health and Safety Team will be advised by ACC if a claim is accepted for diagnosed lung disease from a work-related cause.
- An Incident and Accident Report in Vault is completed with the individual and copied to the Formal Leader and health and safety representative.
7. Environmental Monitoring Methods and Processes
Environmental monitoring may involve taking environmental measurements to review whether existing hazards in certain workplaces are being controlled effectively (e.g., types of monitoring may include air or dust sampling, sound levels, radiation levels, etc.) The workplace exposure standards are used to determine exposure levels and trigger if there need to be more effective control measures implemented.
The Health and Safety Team will ensure all equipment used in Occupational health monitoring (including audiometer and spirometer) are regularly serviced, calibrated, and meet relevant standards.
Dr. Megan Gibbons
Date: 31 May 2022
Policy Version: V3 Previously Coded: MP0421
Recruitment of Staff Policy
Downloadable: SOP Occupational Health and Exposure Monitoring