Respiratory health assessments required, from WorkSafe Vic

Respiratory health assessments required, from WorkSafe Vic

  1. Collection of demographic data (details like age and gender)
  2. Work history
  3. Medical history
  4. Physical examination with emphasis on the respiratory system
  5. Investigations (tests): standardised lung function testing and chest x-ray

The Safe Work Australia guidance recommends that an assessment be done annually during the time a worker is exposed to crystalline silica. It also includes a template for collecting this information.

Health assessments should be done regularly, and by registered medical practitioners with experience in provision in occupational health services.

According to the Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP), health assessments should include:

  • spirometry
  • gas transfer, also called diffusing capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide (DLCO)
  • ILO chest x-ray

Spirometry and DLCO are lung function tests, and in some circumstances, other tests may be needed.

Suspected cases should be referred to respiratory physicians with expertise in assessing and managing complex occupational lung diseases, including silicosis or interstitial lung disease. A respiratory physician should coordinate treatment and ongoing health monitoring.

A full list of laboratories for testing is provided here and further information is available on the WorkSafe Victoria website.

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