Health Surveillance post Covid Update
What guidelines have changed?
Recently there has been new guidance following Covid-19 pandemic with Health Surveillance services; audiometry and spirometry. Adjustments were made in line with the Covid-19 government guidelines to help prevent the spread of the virus. During this period both audiometry and spirometry were halted, and carried out by a self-declaration questionnaire instead.
However, we are now delighted to resume full testing for both audiometry and spirometry, with minor adjustments in line with HSE and IPC (infection and prevention control) guidance. Here are the following updates for those specific changes.
The purpose of this blog post is to provide you with an update of those specific changes (the changes are emphasised below in bold text). We will be rolling this out once more as standard practice, for all clients where this is relevant, no further actions are required on your end at this stage.
Advice has been given to ensure the process is risk assessed in each location in order to ensure all aspects are safe for both staff undertaking and employees attending the testing in order to minimise risk; The guidance recommends continued appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) and cleaning of the area and equipment and in addition:
- A good sized room to allow for 2 m distance between the employee and clinician with periodic air changes (responsibility of the company)
- All tests must be performed using a single use antibacterial antiviral filter (we will provide these for each employee)
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 that replaced the Noise at Work Regulations 1989 were updated in 2021. These have recommended that all testing going forward must be reassessed where any newly defined or progressive noise induced hearing loss needs to be re-categorised and referred for medical assessment by an occupational health physician.
This will mean that the clinicians undertaking the testing will check all results and, if there is any indication of newly diagnosed noise induced hearing loss these will be referred for further assessment by one of our OH Physicians. This has always been closely monitored historically and checked by a senior clinician but this will now mean that following evaluation of hearing results there may be a need for a further medical assessment.
In summary, the overall message is that we will continue to monitor and manage the health surveillance for your employees in line with the current legislation. From September a small charge will be added for spirometry filters, if spirometry is undertaken. Audiometry charges will not change however, if any newly diagnosed or progressive noise induced hearing loss is detected we will be recommending further follow up’s and assessments by our OH Physician which, following review, may on occasions require a follow up charge.
Please be assured we will continue to manage the surveillance programme in the most cost-effective manner on your behalf while observing HSE and regulatory guidance for a post Covid-19 era in order to ensure we continue to protect both your employees and the organisation.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this any further, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly. Alternatively, general queries can be sent through to our Account Management or Corporate Servicing teams who will be happy to help or direct your query as appropriate.
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