Introduction

Please be aware that these notes are extremely brief and offer only the smallest of introductions. They are meant as a very basic overview. Circumstances differ between chemical, its use, the environment and the employees themselves, hence it is not practical to go into specifics here.

Under the COSHH Regulations, an employer must prevent or control exposure to chemicals in the workplace, as harmful health effects can occur if exposures are uncontrolled or too high. Certain chemicals have specific requirements for biological monitoring - for example lead, certain heavy metals.

Chemicals can most commonly enter the body by:

  • inhalation

  • ingestion

  • absorption

  • injection

As part of the systems for monitoring chemical exposures, air samples can be taken to measure the presence of chemicals, or their concentration levels in the atmosphere. However, this does not tell the employer what the chemical levels are within their employee's body tissues. Air monitoring results should be used initially to assess risks and then in conjunction with biological monitoring to assess workplace exposures.

What's Involved?

Depending on the chemical that the employee is exposed to, biological monitoring can be carried out on samples of:

  • blood
  • urine
  • breath

It is important to know that informed consent must be obtained and that the samples cannot be used for any other purpose. The employee also has the right to specify how their results are given to their employer and who, in their employer's organisation, the results can be given to. The employee may only wish to have their results disclosed to their occupational health provider.

Biological monitoring is client specific and further details can be obtained on an individual company basis by contacting us.

 

All Safe OH & S can offer site based statutory health surveillance including:

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