You may be surprised to learn that almost every organization needs a medical surveillance program. OSHA and Cal OSHA require a number of different safety and health programs. Many of these programs require annual or triannual reviews of the employees. The purpose of these reviews is to measure the impact of particular substances or hazards on the body. There is only one way to know the true health of your employees. And that is the medical surveillance program.
We tell ourselves that our safety and health program is one of the best in the world, but if you don’t have a medical surveillance program, you are missing a critical component. This is the true backbone of all your safety and health programs. It doesn’t matter how frequently or how well you train your people if they become ill from chronic exposure. The medical surveillance program is how you identify these exposures so you can eliminate or mitigate the hazard. The medical surveillance program is critical to bloodborne pathogen, hearing conservation, lead and asbestos exposure, respiratory protection, and many other programs. If your organization has written policies covering these programs, you will likely need the medical surveillance program.
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How Does the Medical Surveillance Program Work?
Medical surveillance programs are quite easy to implement. I believe that many of us overlook it because of the sheer volume of activity we have to deal with throughout our day. Once you get it going, though, it is a relatively simple process. The medical surveillance program ensures that employees receive timely evaluations from their medical doctors. This can include chest X-rays, parameter retesting, audiometric exams, and so on. It is your duty as the employer to make sure the employees go in for these tests and receive the results. When an employee is hired, you determine whether they are subject to a particular program. If so, you send them down to your workplace doctor to have them evaluated via that program’s associated tests.
The Second Component of Medical Surveillance
Another key element of the medical surveillance program is access to medical records. This is again one of those areas where most of us risk managers fall down on the job. You may be surprised to learn that some records must be kept for 30 years after your employee’s last date of employment. That is a very long time.
Make Medical Surveillance Easy
The medical surveillance program may sound simple, and it is, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take time and diligence to keep it running smoothly. What is the best way to streamline this process? To be frank, it is to outsource it to a third party like us. We have a dedicated team that evaluates each employee daily to determine what tests are needed and when their next testing date is due.