Guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that all workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica (dust containing small particles of sand) should be included in a Health Surveillance program. It is the responsibility of the employer to involve a health professional and to discuss the need for chest X-rays as part of a Health Surveillance program in order to effectively screen workers for a lung condition called silicosis.
Silicosis can be a serious medical condition and can relate to both current and historical exposure. Whilst controls in dust exposure at work have improved in recent years, many workers remain exposed to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) at a level where Health Surveillance is still required (in broad terms employees may still be at risk at or above 50% of the WEL for RCS).
Industrial Diagnostics Company Ltd. provide a mobile, on-site chest X-ray service that fully aligns employers with this recent updated guidance from the HSE, enabling them to demonstrate good working practice.
Who Should Participate?
With regard to who should be considered for entry into a chest X-ray program, the HSE states that “Health Surveillance should be considered for workers who are involved in high-risk occupations, including construction, foundry work, brick and tile work, ceramics, slate, manufacturing, quarries and stonework. Where workers are regularly exposed to RCS dust and there is a reasonable likelihood that silicosis may develop, Health Surveillance must be provided”.
Industrial Diagnostics Company Ltd. will attend site on a day convenient to the site and deliver a chest X-ray service against shift patterns of employees. The entire chest X-ray examination is completed within 10 minutes and employees are able to return to their normal activities immediately. Up to 30 workers can be screened for silicosis in a single day.
State of the art Digital Radiography (DR) equipment is used; this gives a very high resolution image which is a very effective screen for silicosis or other occupational lung disease. Furthermore, the equipment used delivers very low doses of radiation and the risk is therefore extremely low.
The equipment is fully portable, allowing the chest X-rays to be taken in a suitable room on-site. We will ensure the room is suitable through a risk assessment process. Employees can be allocated specific appointment times for their chest X-ray against a schedule that we will provide. Site disruption and lost operational time is therefore minimal, particularly in comparison to hospital based provision which includes travel time and cost as well as wait times in out-patient departments.
Once the chest X-rays have been taken, read and reported on an outcome letter will be sent to the employee and employer. The letter will advise on the results of the chest X-ray and the appropriate action regarding continued participation in statutory Health Surveillance, including the chest X-ray program.
For more information or if you have any queries please contact Rebecca Branston, Imaging Services Manager