Do you need an OSHA abatement physical to get certified for asbestos removal services? Are you an employer or union required to protect your employees and stay in compliance with OSHA Asbestos health management?
CNS Occupational Medicine offers full OSHA asbestos physicals to meet OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.1001 for workers who are exposed to airborne asbestos.
Asbestos Physical Exam includes:
- Comprehensive Medical Exam, highlighting breathing health
- Review of medical and work history
- OSHA Respirator Medical Questionnaire
- Chest X-Ray with B-reader
- Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) with Blood Pressure
- Any other necessary tests recommended by physician
Required employees must have a physical exam annually, upon termination of employment, as well as a chest x-ray every five years within the first ten years of exposure. In some cases the examining physician may recommend that the employee get an exam more often than once a year.
Why are asbestos physical exams important?
For years, heat and corrosion-resistant minerals (asbestos) were used to make a variety of commercial products, from insulation and fireproofing materials to automotive brakes, textile products, and cement and wallboard materials.
While the use of asbestos has decreased, these minerals are still found in many residential and commercial settings, posing a serious threat to workers’ health.
When handled, asbestos can separate into microscopic-size particles that remain in the air and are easily inhaled. Any exposure to asbestos fibers can contribute to injury and serious diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
Required employees must have an annual physical exam, or more often if recommended by the examining physician, and upon termination of employment.
Chest X-rays and pulmonary function tests may indicate that an employee has been overexposed to asbestos increasing his or her risk of developing exposure-related chronic diseases.
This is why at-risk employees will need a chest x-ray every five years within the first ten years of exposure.
When an active employee has been identified as having been overexposed to asbestos, measures taken by the employer to eliminate or mitigate further exposure should also lower the risk of serious long-term consequences.
What are employer requirements for asbestos health management?
The employer is required to institute a medical surveillance program for all employees who are or will be exposed to asbestos at or above the permissible exposure limit (0.1 fiber per cubic centimeter of air).
All examinations and procedures must be performed by or under the supervision of a licensed physician.
An annual physical exam must be made available, and a chest x-ray conducted every five years within the first ten years of exposure. After ten years, the frequency of the x-ray depends on the age of the employee.
Employers must also keep accurate records of exposure measurements for at least 30 years.
If exposed, employers are required to further protect workers to reduce the airborne levels by:
- establishing regulated areas
- controlling certain work practices, and
- instituting engineering controls
The employer is required to ensure exposure is reduced by using administrative controls and providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to wear.
Medical monitoring of workers is also required when legal limits and exposure times are exceeded.
The employer is required to provide the physician with the following information:
- a copy of the standard in this section (including all appendices to this section)
- a description of the employee’s duties as they relate to asbestos exposure
- the employee’s representative level of exposure to asbestos
- a description of any personal protective and respiratory equipment used, and
- information from previous medical examinations of the affected employee that is not otherwise available to the physician
Making this information available to the physician will aid in the evaluation of the employee’s health in relation to assigned duties and fitness to wear personal protective equipment, if required.
The employer is required to obtain a written opinion from the examining physician containing:
- the results of the medical exam
- the physician’s opinion as to whether the employee has any detected medical conditions that would place the employee at an increased risk of exposure-related disease
- any recommended limitations on the employee or on the use of personal protective equipment, and
- a statement that the employee has been informed by the physician of the results of the medical examination and of any medical conditions related to asbestos exposure that require further explanation or treatment
This written opinion must not reveal specific findings or diagnoses unrelated to exposure to asbestos, and a copy of the opinion must be provided to the affected employee.