Revised view on health monitoring

We have revised our view of what good practice looks like in regards to Section 16.5 and 16.6 of the ACOP Management and removal of asbestos. These sections describe the components of health monitoring and when health monitoring of workers should occur.

This revised view is:

  1.  Unless a medical practitioner recommends another type of health monitoring, the health monitoring must include:
  • A physical examination
    • This should emphasise the respiratory system, and include a lung function test (FEV1 and FVC). (Note this excludes the words given in the ACOP “and include a chest x-ray (PA and lateral)”.)
    • The worker’s demographic, medical and occupational history
    • Records of the worker’s personal exposure to asbestos, for example:
      • Relevant risk assessment reports
      • Air monitoring results
      • Investigation reports if the airborne contamination standard for asbestos was exceeded.

Together, this is known in the code as “a full asbestos medical”.

  1. An asbestos medical should be performed every 2 years from when work with asbestos commences (regardless of when the worker started with the current PCBU). (Note this recommendation differs than the ACOP S16.6.1 which requires  ‘full asbestos medical’ only at the start of employment then every 5 years after that (except for after working for the PCBU for more than 20 years in which case they have a full medical every 2 years).