Workplace Lung Function Tests (Spirometry)

Keeping Your Employees Safe & Well

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Alf and Vanessa Woodcock Waitemata Panelbeaters

From our first interaction through to the completion of the process, we found Alison to be professional, friendly, reliable, efficient and thorough.

Who Should Get Workplace Lung Function Tests?

All workers who are exposed to dusts, metal fumes, chemical vapours, and gases which affect the lungs should be given regularly scheduled lung function tests. This simple exam is a valuable tool in a full program for detecting and preventing serious occupational lung disease. Under the law, workers exposed to certain health hazards, such as cotton dust or asbestos, must be given annual lung function tests.

Most lung diseases take many years of exposure to develop. Symptoms of lung disease such as shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing usually develop gradually. Lung function tests and an awareness of pulmonary symptoms are useful in early detection of lung disease.  Lung function tests can help detect illness at an early stage before symptoms are apparent. Some industries where employees are particularly at risk include panel beaters, manufacturing plants, boat builders, woodworkers, spray painters, chemical and fertilizer products.

Why Choose Working Health?

  • While lung function testing is a quick and simple test, poor test performance and lack of insight into test interpretation can negate its benefits.
  • Our lung function tests are performed in accordance with the internationally recognized ATS/ERS standards (American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society).
  • We use the latest technology to perform your employee lung function tests.
  • Our lung function tests help you to comply with the “Approved Code of Practice for the Safe use of Isocyanates” and “Workplace Exposure Standards".
  • We can conduct on-site lung function tests for your employees with minimal disruption and costs for your business.

What is Workplace Lung Function Testing?

Workplace lung function testing or spirometry (which means the measuring of breath) is the most common test of lung function. Spirometry is widely used in New Zealand to test the lungs of employees exposed to respiratory hazards, which could include fumes, particulate dusts, solvents, and dangerous airborne particles.

The main way in which workers are exposed to chemicals in the workplace is through breathing the chemical substance into their lungs. Some chemicals can irritate the nose or throat; they can also cause discomfort or coughing when they are inhaled. Some chemicals can cause even more severe damage and serious lung disease.

Occupational asthma and many other forms of workplace based lung / pulmonary / breathing problems are preventable by wearing masks and respirators when exposed to respiratory hazards.

The basic test of mechanical lung function can be done with a spirometer. A spirometer is an instrument used to measure the volume of air entering and leaving the lungs.

To do the test, a person inhales fully and then blows out the air in his or her lungs through a tube as hard, fast, and completely as possible. The test is repeated until at least three of the exhaled breaths are as good as possible. The spirometer measures the amount of air expelled and the speed at which the lungs can be emptied. These measurements are useful in evaluating respiratory disease.

The Risks of Silica Exposure for Workers

The Six Main Benefits of Lung Function Testing For Your Business

Provides early detection of ill health for a worker, or group of workers.
 
Reduces the liabilities of industrial / workers compensation claims.
Reduces the levels of absenteeism in the workplace.
Helps to assess the effectiveness of measures implemented for protection.
Helps to comply with relevant legislation.
Provides early detection of patterns and problem areas.
 

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