Guidance on Respiratory Testing
OSHA and NIOSH have developed two guidance documents: one for employers and one for workers: that describe the use of spirometry testing to help reduce and prevent worker exposure to respiratory hazards.
Spirometry is a common pulmonary function test that measures how well a person moves air in and out of the lungs. Workers who inhale some types of dust, gases, or other air contaminants can, over time, experience lung damage. The spirometry test may detect breathing problems or significant changes in a worker’s lung function at an early stage.
The new OSHA-NIOSH produced infosheet for employers clarifies what spirometry is, when it is needed, and critical elements that employers can use to evaluate the quality of spirometry services provided to their workers. The infosheet also describes how it helps individuals by identifying problems early and makes the workplace safer by identifying when workplace respiratory hazards are causing problems that must be corrected.
The companion document, OSHA-NIOSH Worker Info, explains to workers the importance of taking a spirometry test, what to do during the test, and their right to receive an explanation and copy of test results.
OSHA says its joint effort with NIOSH will help broaden outreach and enhance knowledge of preventive measures. The agency also recommends spirometry testing for workers exposed to diacetyl and diacetyl substitutes, widely used in food flavorings.
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