Medical Surveillance Monitoring for all Exposure Groups

Medical Surveillance Monitoring for all Exposure Groups

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Periodic health assessments should be perform on employees who have been exposed to hazardous level of respirable Crystalline Silica. Crystalline silica means quartz, cristobalite, and/or tridymite contained in airborne particles that are determined to be respirable by a sampling device designed to meet the characteristics for respirable-particle size- selective samplers.The respirable silica dust enters the lungs and causes the formation of scar tissue, thus reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen. There is no cure for silicosis. Since silicosis affects lung function, it makes one more susceptible to lung infections like tuberculosis. In addition, smoking causes lung damage and adds to the damage caused by breathing silica dust. Employers who have workers exposed to silica should protect the workers health by having periodic testing so changes in health status can be detected and the appropriate interventions can be made.


Silicosis is classified into three types:


  • Chronic/classic silicosis



    1. the most common, occurs after 15–20 years of moderate to low exposures to respirable crystalline silica.
  1. Accelerated silicosis
    1. can occur after 5-10 years of high exposures to respirable crystalline silica
  2. Acute silicosis
    1. occurs after a few months or as long as 2 years following exposures to extremely high concentrations of respirable crystalline silica.

Asbestos exposure at a job site is a major health problem. Asbestos refers to a group of six types of naturally occurring minerals. Asbestos minerals are made up of fine, durable fibers and are resistant to heat, fire and many chemicals. Once called the “miracle mineral” for such properties, asbestos was used in a slew of everyday products, from building materials to fireproof protective gear.


Asbestos-related illness

  • Pleural plaques
  • Asbestosis
  • COPD
  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung Cancer

Hines Health will ensure that all our clients are aware of the regulations within their province so that the employer is doing their due diligence in complying with these regulations.

Spirometry is a screening test used in occupational health to determine a worker’s lung function status. It is the most important exam to diagnose and monitor COPD. Spirometry is the term given to the basic lung function tests that measure the air that is expired and inspired. It consists of three basic related measurements volume, time and flow.

Many workplace substances can cause breathing problems or lung damage. For example:

  • Dust from wood, cotton, coal, asbestos, silica, talc, cereal grains, coffee, pesticides, drug or enzyme powders, metals, and fiberglass.
  • Fumes from metals that are heated and cooled quickly. These fumes occur in welding, smelting, furnace work, pottery making, plastics manufacturing, and rubber operations.
  • Smoke from burning organic materials. For instance, firefighters are at an increased risk of lung damage from smoke.
  • Gases such as formaldehyde, ammonia, chlorine, sulfur dioxide, ozone and nitrogen oxides. These gases occur in welding, brazing, smelting, oven drying, and furnace work.
  • Vapors, which are a form of gas given off by all liquids.
  • Mists or sprays from paints, lacquers (such as varnish), hair spray, pesticides, cleaning products, acids, oils, and solvents (such as turpentine).

Workers exposed to these substances should submit to annual spirometry testing in order to monitor their lung health.

In adults the main determinants of the reference values for spirometric measurement are:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Ethnic Origin
  • Smoking

During the procedure you will be ask to:

  • Breathe in as deeply as you can
  • Seal your lips around the mouthpiece
  • Blow out as hard and fast as you can, and keep going as long as possible.

This test will be repeated three times.

Employers that implement a pre-employment lung health program are able to independently record baseline values of workers with pre-existing conditions.

How to Prepare

  • Bring your government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, passport, military ID, etc.)
  • Do not smoke for one hour before the test
  • Do not drink alcohol within four hours of the test
  • Do not eat a large meal within two hours of the test
  • Wear loose clothing
  • Do not perform vigorous exercise within 30 minutes of the test
  • If you are on puffer medications, you may be asked to refrain from taking them for a few hours before spirometry. Ask your doctor (or the centre performing the test) beforehand if this applies to you.

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We are health professionals with extensive occupational health experience and can provide a complete occupational health program for your company or individual services.

Office Address

NEW! 805 Memorial Drive, Suite 101A
Fort McMurray, Alberta

Direct Contact

Toll Free:1-844-893-6909
Office: 780-790-6909
Fax: 587-537-7701

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