OHS Code

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 4 Chemical Hazards, Biological Hazards and Harmful Substances

Section 40 Health assessments for workers exposed to asbestos, silica or coal dust

(1) This section applies to an exposed worker who may be exposed to asbestos, silica or coal dust.

(2) A health assessment of the worker must include the following:

(a) the identity of the worker and the employer;

(b) the date of the medical examination, chest x-ray and spirogram;

(c) a 35 centimetres by 43 centimetres postero-anterior view chest x-ray, including a radiologist’s report;

(d) a spirogram, conducted by a pulmonary function technician, including determinations of forced expiratory volume in the first second and forced vital capacity;

(e) a history covering

(i) occupational exposures to asbestos, silica, coal dust, or other industrial dusts and carcinogens,

(ii) significant exposures to asbestos, silica, coal dust, other dust and carcinogens during non work-related activities,

(iii) significant symptoms that may indicate silicosis, pneumoconiosis, asbestosis or cancer,

(iv) past and current medical diagnoses of respiratory disease, and

(v) the worker’s smoking history,

(f) a written interpretation and explanation of the results by a physician of the assessment with particular reference to the worker’s exposure to airborne substances.

(3) The physician must give the written interpretation and explanation of the results of the health assessment to the worker not more than 60 days after the tests are completed.

(4) The physician must ensure that the records of the health assessment are kept for not less than 30 years.

(5) The person with custody of the health assessment record must ensure that no person, other than the worker or health professional who conducts the health assessment, the staff supervised by the health professional or another person authorized by law to have access, has access to the exposed worker’s health assessment unless

(a) the record is in a form that does not identify the worker, or

(b) the worker gives written permission for access by another person.

(6) An employer must ensure that a worker undergoes a health assessment

(a) not more than 30 calendar days after the worker becomes an exposed worker, and

(b) every 2 years after the first health assessment.

(7) If an exposed worker received a health assessment from a previous employer within the immediately preceding 2 years, the worker must inform the present employer of the date or approximate date of that health assessment at the earliest possible time.

(8) An employer must ensure at all times that an exposed worker has received a health assessment within the immediately preceding 2 years.

(9) Despite subsections (7) and (8), exposed workers may refuse to undergo part or all of a health assessment by giving the employer a written statement refusing it.

(10) An employer must not coerce, threaten or force a worker into refusing part or all of a health assessment.

(11) An employer must pay the cost of the health assessment, medical interpretation and explanation required by this section.

(12) An employer must ensure that, if it is reasonably practicable, a health assessment is performed during normal hours of work.

(13) An employer must not make deduction from the worker’s wages, salary or other remuneration or benefits for the time an exposed worker

(a) undergoes a health assessment, or

(b) travels to or from a health assessment.