Surveillance Testing

OSHA requires periodic testing of employees exposed to potentially injurious environmental factors. The goal is to identify subtle changes on these tests and then address the underlying causes such as incorrect work processes, inadequate use of personal protective equipment, or exposure outside of work.

The most common types of surveillance testing are summarized below:

Spirometry

Spirometry, also referred to as a Pulmonary Function Test, measures lung function especially with respect to Total Lung Volume (TLV) and Force Expiratory Volume (FEV1). These measurements are compared to established normal values and used to rule out or quantify restrictive lung disease and obstructive lung disease respectively. This test is very useful in determining who can safely wear a respirator, the type of respirator, how many hours per day, and the physicality of the work tolerable while wearing a respirator. Respirators are most commonly worn by individuals working with respiratory toxins (e.g., painters), ERT members, or hazardous waste handlers. Periodic testing, annual or every 2-3 years, will identify greater than expected changes in performance which may be due to exposure or lung disease from non-occupational causes such as smoking.

Audiogram

An Audiogram is a hearing test. Workers exposed to noise equal to or greater than 85 dBA for 8 hours are required by OSHA to be enrolled in a Hearing Conservation Program (HCP) that includes annual audiograms. If the noise is 90 dBA or higher then a time-weighted equivalent is used to determine if a worker needs to participate in an employer-sponsored HCP. A Hearing Conservation Program is designed to identify small losses in hearing to prompt workplace and personal behavior changes including improved hearing protection and noise avoidance so as to prevent additional hearing losses.

Vision Testing

Vision testing is typically performed to measure acuity for distance, depth perception and color blindness where deficits in acuity might present a safety hazard (vehicle operation) or performance issue (electronic wiring). Employee who work with commercial lasers are also required by OSHA to undergo monitoring (laser eye exams) to establish a baseline and observe for new deficits in visual fields typically caused by laser damage or personal illness.

Hazardous Material Surveillance

Hazardous Material surveillance is mandated by OSHA for employees exposed to regulated hazardous materials while at work. Employers must obtain a MSDS for each hazardous material used or stored at the worksite and determine which require OSHA mandated surveillance. For more information, please refer to HazMat physicals or OSHA Hazardous and Toxic Substances.

Tuberculosis (TB) Testing

A TB skin test (TST), also commonly referred to as a PPD (purified protein derivative) test, is performed to see if a person has ever been infected with tuberculosis (TB). This skin test is done by putting a small amount of TB antigens in the top layer of the skin. The patient must return to the clinic in 48-72 hours to have the results read by a medical professional. If there is 5-15 mm of local swelling the result, depending on the individual’s medical history, is interpreted as a positive reaction, and a chest x-ray is typically required to rule out active or infectious TB.

If an individual has previously had a positive reaction to a TB skin test, then the skin test will forever remain positive on re-testing. For these individuals a TB skin test is not useful for screening for active TB. Instead the individual will answer a short questionnaire and if deemed necessary will have a chest x-ray performed.

Screening, either with a TB skin test or questionnaire and chest x-ray, is performed annually for individuals who work in health care facilities.

We offer TB skin testing on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday only.
We do not offer TB testing on Thursday.