Employment Medicals or “Medical surveillance”, is one of the many measures that can greatly reduce exposure to workplace hazards. Its very purpose is preventative in that it sets out to identify underlying causes of exposure and eliminate them.
In order to identify what type of medical surveillance needs to be conducted on which employee, a company is required to conduct an assessment of potential hazards in the areas of noise, illumination (light), ventilation, temperature, ergonomics and hazardous substances. This assessment is commonly referred to as a “Hygiene Survey”.
The frequency of performing a Hygiene Survey is determined by the nature of the exposure. If the hazardous exposure is to a hazard that has a control limit the cycle is every 12 months. If the hazard does not have a control limit the cycle is every 24 months.
You must make sure that medical surveillance is carried out if:
Hazardous agents can be classified into the following categories;
Chemical hazards: include hazards such as dust, vapours, fumes and gas;
Physical hazards: include hazards such as noise, radiation, lighting and extreme temperatures;
Mechanical hazards: include vibrations;
Psychological hazards: include work-based stress; and
Ergonomic hazards: can include poor posture due to manual handling for example.
Hazardous Chemical Substances Regs (GNR 1179, Aug 1995
You are not permitted to order, distribute, issue or sell medication in the workplace