Spirometry and skin assessments
Provided either alongside audiometric testing or as a separate stand-alone service, spirometry and/or skin assessment health screening can be undertaken in one of our mobile units or if more convenient, in an office or meeting room on site.
Spirometry (lung function testing)
The need for spirometry arises mainly from CoSHH. Part of CoSHH covers chemicals, products or dusts which may have an impact on an individual's health if inhaled, which is where spirometry comes in, (also referred to as lung function testing). The aim of this health surveillance is to help identify any problems which may be developing, hopefully before the individual becomes aware of them, allowing treatment to be obtained before it becomes a problem.
Some of the substances which may require the employer to arrange for spirometry are general hazards such as dusts, while others are specifically highlighted as being dangerous if inhaled.
The products covered by this, and therefore associated professions, are wide-ranging and include:
flour, grain or wood dusts
glutaraldehyde (sometimes used as a 'safer' alternative to formaldehyde)
solder fumes and resins
Our spirometry service uses modern computer-controlled spirometers, with instant classification according to NICE standards. The results are printed immediately and discussed with the attendee, ensuring they understand their result and the need to use any protective equipment which may be provided to them by their employer.
This is quite a quick assessment usually done alongside audiometric testing and/or spirometry. It involves a discussion with the attendee about possible skin irritations, cracks, blanching, redness, etc., along with a visual inspection of their hands.
The spirometry report
We provide the employer with a detailed report for each attendee. Where someone has been referred we will make clear if it is for their own health benefit or is something the employer should monitor, and we also give fitness to work statements for everyone. The report also includes every individual spirometry result so it is available for future reference if ever needed.
As with our audiometry reports, we do not retain the health questionnaire and will give it back to the attendee at the end of the tests. We will make any pertinent notes separately so they are available for reference in future tests, but as the questionnaire contains a lot of data which is not necessary post-test, it is easier for data management if this is simply given back to the attendee. If the employer wishes, they can receive this but please notify us of this when booking in so we can use the appropriate questionnaire and ensure they are retained.
Skin assessments follow a similar path.
Is a Spirometry test safe?
Yes for pretty much everyone, but as it places strain on the chest and abdomen of the person there are some limited groups for whom it carries out increased risk and for whom we would not wish to test:
Recent heart attack
Recent major surgery
Recent means within the last six weeks
Uncontrolled (untreated) very high blood pressure
And as a precaution, anyone in the 7th month of pregnancy onwards, or at any stages of a pregnancy in any person who as a history of miscarriage.
(Spirometry is not known to cause problems in pregnancy and some women undergo routine spirometry right through a pregnancy, however, due to the strain it places on the body we have been informed several times over the years that some individual GPs have recommended against a spirometry test, especially in women who have suffered multiple miscarriage. As a result, to be safe we are reluctant to conduct a spiro test on anyone beyond the seven month point or if they have suffered previous miscarriage).