Audiometry and spirometry checks no longer mandatory

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The construction industry’s OH service Constructing Better Health (CBH) has removed audiometry and spirometry checks from its list of mandatory tests required for safety-critical workers.

The move follows an analysis of industry feedback on what should and should not be included within the fitness-for-work assessment process.

Firms argued that the two tests “add considerable time and cost to the health check and were originally included to take account of the exposure to both the noise and dust which often accompanied working on any construction site”, CBH said.

It added that, while in the early days employers and contractors were largely unaware of the need to monitor these health risks, there was now an increased awareness of health risks and therefore the mandatory element could be removed.

The checks will become optional, but based on the risk to the individual and to be used when required – for example, where evidence is needed that hearing or physical capability is adequate for reaction and/or escape.

However, CBH emphasised that requirement for audiometry and spirometry will continue to be a mandatory requirement for health surveillance purposes under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.

Alongside audiometry and spirometry, the organisation has looked at the requirement for mandatory drug and alcohol testing in the same context and, again, has amended the standard to say that the decision for testing is down to individual company policy.

The drug and alcohol testing requirement will therefore be changed to “optional” and will be decided by the employer’s or contractor’s risk assessment processes, it said.

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