Health surveillance - Information, guides and forms

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Health surveillance in the workplace refers to the health monitoring of employees where there is a risk to health from exposure to certain hazardous substances (e.g. lead, asbestos, silica, isocyanate). Health surveillance must be supervised by an Appointed Medical Practitioner (AMP).  Health surveillance may include completion of a questionnaire, medical examination, blood or urine tests, lung function tests, chest x-rays, or other health tests relevant to the substance. 

How to choose a suitable medical practitioner

The employer, in consultation with employees, appoints the AMP. This should be a registered medical practitioner with knowledge and experience in health surveillance and knowledge of legislative requirements.

Refer to WorkSafe – Health Surveillance – Legislative Requirements for Health Surveillance.

Medical practitioners who are considering conducting this work should contact WorkSafe’s occupational physician for further information, including an information pack by contacting the department on 1300 307 877 or emailing safety@dmirs.wa.gov.au.

How can health surveillance protect employees in the workplace?

Health surveillance helps to identify possible excessive exposure to a hazardous substance before the person’s health is significantly affected. This can prevent adverse health affects and serious illness from the exposure. It provides the employer with information on the adequacy of workplace controls and need for remedial measures. 

Who should have health surveillance?

All employees who work with these hazardous substances and are at risk of adverse health effects from exposure are required to have health surveillance.

How often should health surveillance be undertaken?

The frequency of testing is determined by the type of the hazardous substance, the nature of the work, the exposure, previous health surveillance results and the presence of other risk factors. The Appointed Medical Practitioner will provide a recommendation on the frequency of health surveillance, with reference to the guidance provided in health surveillance guides and forms on the department website.

Who is responsible for arranging health surveillance?

The employer has the responsibility to provide health surveillance at no cost to their employees, and to appoint a suitably qualified medical practitioner (called the Appointed Medical Practitioner) to supervise health surveillance for their employees.

What is the role of an Appointed Medical Practitioner (AMP)? 

The AMP, in consultation with the employer, advises on an appropriate health surveillance program for the workplace taking into account the nature of the hazard and occupational exposure. 

The program should be designed for the purpose of identifying those employees who are at risk of adverse health effects from occupational exposure to known hazardous substances.  

The program can include work history and health screening, clinical examination, biological monitoring and other relevant medical investigations. The AMP is required to notify and explain the results to the employee.  Where the results are of concern, the AMP counsels the employee and liaises with the employer regarding the suitability of the employee to continue to work with the substance and to investigate and implement remedial measures.

The AMP may recommend removal from further exposure to a hazardous substance on clinical grounds in order to prevent serious adverse health effects.

The AMP is responsible for notifying the results to WorkSafe on the appropriate WorkSafe Health surveillance notification form.  This should be done as soon as practicable.  Should any results indicate risks of serious harm, the AMP should contact WorkSafe immediately.

What happens if an employee has been removed from work exposure to a hazardous substance? 

When removal from the exposure is recommended by the AMP, the employee is usually able to undertake work which does not involve the hazardous substance.  Depending on the health effects on the employee, removal can be temporary or permanent.

Some hazardous substances have specific removal levels. Refer to the Health surveillance guides below for further information.

Guides and forms

Guides for medical practitioners

Guides for employers

Forms

Other resources

DMIRS - Mining and resources sector:

Safe Work Australia resources:

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