What are your duties?
As the employer, you are required to:
• Make sure that an employee who was exposed to hazardous agents is placed under medical surveillance;
• Offer medical examinations to your employees;
• Get an occupational medical practitioner to draw up a 'medical surveillance programme';
• Bar any unfit employees from working in areas where there is a risk of exposure, at least until he is declared fit again; and
• Keep all medical surveillance records for at least 40 years.
When must medical surveillance be carried out?
You must make sure that medical surveillance is carried out if:
• Your risk assessment indicates that possible exposure has taken place;
• The occupational medical practitioner can justify the need for one; and if
• The employee has an identifiable disease that could be linked to exposure to any hazardous agents in the workplace.
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What classifies as 'hazardous agents'?
Hazardous agents can be classified into chemical, physical, mechanical, psychological and ergonomic hazards:
• Chemical hazards include hazards such as dust, vapours, fumes and gas;
• Physical hazards include hazards such as noise, radiation, lighting and extreme temperatures;
• Mechanical hazards include vibrations;
• Psychological hazards include work-based stress; and
• Ergonomic hazards can include poor posture due to manual handling for example.
So, there you have it! There are some important points that you need to know about medical surveillance.
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