OSHA

Medical surveillance duties

As an employer, it's required by law carry out medical surveillance in the workplace.

By implementing medical surveillance in the workplace, you can reduce your employees' exposure to any present hazards, and in so doing promote a healthy, safe and legally compliant working environment.

Duty#1:

Make sure that an employee who was exposed to hazardous agents is placed under medical surveillance.

NOTE: 'Hazardous agents' can be divided into chemical, physical, mechanical, psychological and ergonomic hazards, with:

  • chemical hazards including hazards such as dust, vapours, fumes and gas;
  • physical hazards including hazards such as noise, radiation, lighting and extreme temperatures;
  • mechanical hazards including vibrations;
  • psychological hazards including work-based stress; and
  • ergonomic hazards including poor posture due to manual handling.

Duty#2:

You must make sure that medical surveillance is carried out if:

  • your risk assessment indicates that possible exposure has taken place;
  • the occupational medical practitioner can justify the need for one; and if
  • the employee has an identifiable disease that could be linked to exposure to any hazardous agents in the workplace.

Duty#3:

You must offer medical examinations to your employees.

Duty#4:

You must get an occupational medical practitioner to draw up a 'medical surveillance programme'.

Duty#5:

You must prevent any unfit employees from working in areas where there is a risk of exposure, at least until he is declared fit again.

Duty#6:

You must keep all medical surveillance records for at least 40 years, as according to Regulation 14 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

*Those were your 6 medical surveillance duties to ensure legal compliance as an employer.

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