Spirometry (lung function testing)

This is the one non-noise service we provide but as it so often sits along side audiometric testing it is one we have extensive experience of providing over the years. Well, kind of the 'one non-noise service' as we also provide skin assessments as well. OK, two non-noise services.

The need for spirometry arises mainly from that old chestnut, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, or 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. These are specified in the current version of EH40, which gives risk and safety phrases for a multitude of substances. Particularly pertinent to spirometry are products which are labelled as 'R42 - may cause sensitisation by inhalation'. (Standard 'risk' or 'safety' phrases are shown as a number preceded by an R or and S.

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

    Please contact us for a specifc, and surprisingly affordable, quote.

Detail on the spirometry testing

Spirometry is available either on its own or as part of a combined audiometry / spirometry assessment.

On its own, each spirometry test takes approximately 15 minutes and involves the attendee blowing as hard and fast as they can into the monitoring equipment. We assess both the capacity of their lungs and how efficient their lungs are at expelling the air, comparing the results to standard norms for their age, gender and ethnicity. If issues are found they may be referred for further evaluation to their G.P.

If combined with a hearing test, we plan around 20 minutes for the combined appointment.

Location

Spirometry is normally done in our mobile screening unit but if it is being conducted as a stand-alone test (rather than with a hearing test) we can conduct it in any meeting room or office on your site.

The spirometry report

We provide the employer with a detailed report for each attendee. 

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.

Is a Spirometry test safe?

Yes for most people, 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 test:

  • Recent heart attack

  • Recent angina

  • Recent major surgery

    Recent means within the last six weeks

  • Uncontrolled (untreated) high blood pressure

  • And as a precaution, anyone in the 7th month of pregnancy onwards, or at any stages of a pregnancy in anyone 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 as 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).

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