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Photo Courtesy of Cummings Resources
Photo Courtesy of Cummings Resources
 

Medical Surveillance

The employer shall make medical surveillance available at no cost to the employee, and at a reasonable time and place, for each employee who will be required under this section to use a respirator for 30 or more days per year.

The employer shall ensure that all medical examinations and procedures required are performed by a “Physician or other licensed health care professional” as defined within the OSHA rule.

Initial Examination
The employer shall make available an initial (baseline) medical examination within 30 days after initial assignment, unless the employee has received a medical examination that meets the requirements of this section within the last three years. The examination shall consist of:

  1. A medical and work history, with emphasis on: past, present, and anticipated exposure to respirable crystalline silica, dust, and other agents affecting the respiratory system; any history of respiratory system dysfunction, including signs and symptoms of respiratory disease (e.g., shortness of breath, cough, wheezing); history of tuberculosis; and smoking status and history;
  2. A physical examination with special emphasis on the respiratory system;
  3. A chest X-ray;
  4. A pulmonary function test to include forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV) and FEV 1/FVC ratio;
  5. Testing for latent tuberculosis infection; and
  6. Any other tests deemed appropriate by the physician.

Periodic Examinations
The employer shall make available medical examinations that include the procedures described above at least every three years, or more frequently if recommended by the Physician or other licensed health care professional.

Information Provided to the Physician
The employer shall ensure that the examining Physician or other licensed health care professional has a copy of this standard, and shall provide the Physician with the following information:

  1. A description of the employee’s former, current, and anticipated duties as they relate to the employee’s occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica;
  2. The employee’s former, current, and anticipated levels of occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica;
  3. A description of any personal protective equipment used or to be used by the employee, including when and for how long the employee has used or will use that equipment; and
  4. Information from records of employment-related medical examinations previously provided to the employee and currently within the control of the employer.

Physician’s Written Medical Report for the Employee
The employer shall ensure that the Physician explains to the employee the results of the medical examination and provides each employee with a written medical report within 30 days of each medical examination performed.

The written report shall contain:

  1. A statement indicating the results of the medical examination, including any medical condition(s) that would place the employee at increased risk of material impairment to health from exposure to respirable crystalline silica and any medical conditions that require further evaluation or treatment;
  2. Any recommended limitations on the employee’s use of respirators;
  3. Any recommended limitations on the employee’s exposure to respirable crystalline silica; and
  4. A statement that the employee should be examined by a specialist if the chest X-ray provided is classified as 1/0 or higher by the B Reader, or if referral to a specialist is otherwise deemed appropriate by the Physician.

Physician’s Written Medical Opinion for the Employer
The employer shall obtain a written medical opinion from the Physician within 30 days of the medical examination. The written opinion shall contain only the following:

  1. The date of the examination;
  2. A statement that the examination has met the requirements of this section; and
  3. Any recommended limitations on the employee’s use of respirators.

If the employee provides written authorization, the written opinion for the employer shall also contain either or both of the following:

  1. Any recommended limitations on the employee’s exposure to respirable crystalline silica;
  2. A statement that the employee should be examined by a specialist (pursuant to paragraph (h)(7) of this section) if the chest X-ray provided in accordance with this section is classified as 1/0 or higher by the B Reader, or if referral to a specialist is otherwise deemed appropriate by the Physician.

The employer shall ensure that each employee receives a copy of the written medical opinion described in the rule within 30 days of each medical examination performed.

Additional Examinations
If the Physician’s written medical opinion indicates that an employee should be examined by a specialist, the employer shall make available a medical examination by a specialist within 30 days after receiving the Physician’s written opinion.

The employer shall ensure that the examining specialist is provided with all of the information that the employer is obligated to provide to the Physician in accordance with the rule.

The employer shall ensure that the specialist explains to the employee the results of the medical examination and provides each employee with a written medical report within 30 days of the examination. The written report shall meet the requirements of the rule.

The employer shall obtain a written opinion from the specialist within 30 days of the medical examination. The written opinion shall meet the requirements of the rule.