Unless it can be demonstrated that contact has been prevented or adequately controlled, employers must use a suitable methodology to monitor their employees’ exposure to hazardous substances. Where there is a substance/process specified in Schedule 6 or a reasonable likelihood that an identifiable disease or health condition might arise from exposure, affected employees must be enrolled in a suitable health surveillance programme (so long as there valid techniques for identifying the indications of the disease or effect).
Monitoring needs to be carried out on a regular basis (for substances or processes listed in Schedule 5 there is a specified minimum frequency) and records kept for a minimum of 40 years from last entry for personal monitoring and 5 years from last entry for other monitoring.
Health surveillance should be conducted under the supervision of a relevant doctor at least annually. If a relevant doctor decides that an employee should be excluded from continued exposure to a substance/process or conditions, the employer must comply with this advice.
Employees are required to co-operate with their employer regarding health surveillance, attend associated appointments (arranged during working hours at the employer’s instruction and expense) and, where this relates to substance/process specified in Schedule 6, shall give all reasonably required relevant information about his/her health to the relevant doctor.
Employees that are subject to health surveillance must be allowed access to his/her personal monitoring record and copies of those records must be provided by the employer to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) where required. The HSE should be notified immediately if the organisation ceases to trade and all monitoring records available to them.
If it’s discovered that an employee has an identifiable disease or adverse health effect as a result of exposure to hazardous substance then their employer must:
“(a) ensure that a suitably qualified person informs the employee accordingly and provides the employee with information and advice regarding further health surveillance;
(b) review the risk assessment;
(c) review any measure taken to comply with regulation 7, taking into account any advice given by a relevant doctor, occupational health professional or by the Executive;
(d) consider assigning the employee to alternative work where there is no risk of further exposure to that substance, taking into account any advice given by a relevant doctor or occupational health professional; and
(e) provide for a review of the health of any other employee who has been similarly exposed, including a medical examination where such an examination is recommended by a relevant doctor, occupational health professional or by the Executive.
The employer must allow the relevant doctor to carry out an inspection of the workplace/activity if they feel that this is necessary. Any appeal (by the employer or the employee) against the recommendation of a relevant doctor to suspend an employee from work activities or to impose conditions upon such work should be made in writing to the HSE within 28 days of receiving the recommendation.