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Silica Exposed Worker Program

Silica Exposed Worker Program

Silica health monitoring is performed periodically to assess the health of a worker, or a group of workers who are exposed to respirable Crystalline Silica.

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What is Silica Health Monitoring?

Periodic health assessments of a worker, or a group of workers who have been exposed to respirable Crystalline Silica. Crystalline silica is a known carcinogen to humans. Employers who have workers exposed to silica should protect the workers health by having periodic testing so changes in health status can be detected and the appropriate interventions can be made. In most cases, silica health monitoring will include a spirometry, chest x-ray, and physician review.

Comprehensive Lung Health Medical Monitoring Program Basic Lung Health Medical Monitoring Program
Lung Health Questionnaire X X
Fit to Wear Respirator Questionnaire X
Spirometry Screen X X
Chest X-Ray X X
Quantitative Mask Fit X
Pulmonary Specialist Review X X
Employee Results Letter X X
Pulmonary Specialist Assessment if required if required
Employer Statistical Report X X

Both the Comprehensive and Basic Lung Health Medical Monitoring Programs comply with legislation.

Alberta

A worker exposed to silica, must have a health assessment within 30 days of becoming an “exposed worker”.
Health assessments must be done every two years after the first assessment as long as the worker continues to be an “exposed worker”.
The health assessment for exposure to silica consists of health history information, a chest x-ray, a radiologist’s report, a lung function test and a copy of the physician’s interpretation and explanation of the health assessment. The history includes identifying the worker, employer, the worker’s previous work and non-work exposures to coal dust, silica, asbestos, or other dusts, indications of any respiratory disease, smoking history and the date on which the worker had their most recent chest x-ray and lung function test.

For more information on Alberta’s requirements, click here.

British Columbia

Workers who are exposed to silica dust on an ongoing basis should be enrolled in a medical monitoring program, which might include physical examinations, chest x-rays, and lung function testing.

For more information on British Columbia’s requirements, click here.

Manitoba

Preplacement, baseline medical screening for all workers who are anticipated to be at risk for exposure to fibrogenic must have the following at the start of employment:

  • A medical and occupational history, with emphasis on the respiratory system
  • A physical examination, with emphasis on the respiratory system
  • Pulmonary function test (PFT)
  • A baseline chest x-ray
  • A respiratory health questionnaire

Periodic medical screening for all workers at risk for exposure to fibrogenic dusts must have the following examinations every two years, for the duration of their employment:

  • A biennial occupational medical history, with emphasis on any exposures during the previous year
  • A biennial pulmonary function test (PFT)
  • A biennial respiratory health questionnaire
  • A physical medical examination (with emphasis on the respiratory tract) should be pursued if the occupational medical history indicates a possible health problem which may be adversely affected by the work or the work environment
  • A chest x-ray

For more information on Manitoba’s requirements, click here.

New Brunswick

OSHA recommends that individuals chronically exposed to silica receive baseline and periodic medical and lung function examinations. Such examinations should be repeated every five years in individuals with less than 20 years exposure and every two years in those with more than 20 years exposure. A chest x-ray is recommended upon termination of employment. Workers who are exposed to silica dust on an ongoing basis should be enrolled in a medical monitoring program, which might include physical examinations, chest x-rays, and lung function testing.

For more information on New Brunswick’s requirements, click here.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Initial Health Assessments must be carried out under the direction of a Physician and must include an occupational history to determine years of exposure – to be updated annually, inquiring about materials used, tasks performed, and occupations, a respiratory questionnaire, a pulmonary/lung function test,a chest x-ray, medical history and physical examination emphasizing the respiratory system. This examination shall consider the need for PPD skin testing for tuberculosis.

Periodic Health Assessments: The frequency of chest x rays shall be every 3-5 years or at the Physician’s discretion assuming previous x-ray was normal, and less than 20 years of exposure, every 1-3 years with normal x ray and greater than 20 years of exposure (at the Physician’s discretion), and annually with x ray evidence of silicosis, massive exposure, or positive PPD test. A chest x ray shall be recommended upon termination of employment and this recommendation shall be documented in writing. A medical examination emphasizing the respiratory system, and a pulmonary/lung test, should be repeated annually, and skin testing for tuberculosis should be considered for all individuals with x-ray evidence of silicosis.

For more information on Newfoundland and Labrador’s requirements, click here.

Northwest Territories

Silica Sandblasting
Within 30 days of receipt of a written request for a medical examination by a worker involved in a silica process, an employer shall arrange and pay the full cost of an examination by a physician. The employer shall make arrangements for a medical examination that includes:

  • a complete physical examination with special attention to the respiratory system;
  • lung function tests including forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume at one second; and
  • any medical procedures considered necessary by the examining physician for the diagnosis of silica related illness.

For more information on Northwest Territories’ requirements, click here.

Nova Scotia

No information at this time.

Nunavut

Silica Sandblasting
Within 30 days of receipt of a written request for a medical examination by a worker involved in a silica process, an employer shall arrange and pay the full cost of an examination by a physician. The employer shall make arrangements for a medical examination that includes:

  • a complete physical examination with special attention to the respiratory system;
  • lung function tests including forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume at one second; and
  • any medical procedures considered necessary by the examining physician for the diagnosis of silica related illness.

For more information on Nunavut’s requirements, click here.

Ontario

By law, the medical surveillance program must consist of the following:

  • Pre-employment and pre-placement medical examinations
  • Periodic medical examinations
  • Clinical tests (main tests include a chest x-ray and pulmonary function tests)
  • Health education

Record keeping Medical examinations must include the following: History. The initial medical and occupational history must cover previous exposure to silica, personal habits (e.g., smoking) and history of present or past respiratory disorders (particularly tuberculosis). At each periodic examination, the history must be updated to include: a) History of frequency and duration of exposure to silica since the last examination; and b) Any signs and symptoms of respiratory disease (e.g., difficulty breathing, cough, sputum, wheezing and chest pain).

For more information on Ontario’s requirements, click here.

Prince Edward Island

No information found at this time.

Quebec

A pre-employment pulmonary health examination shall include a medical questionnaire, a physical examination, a lung x-ray, and testing of the respiratory functions.

For more information on Quebec’s requirements, click here.

Saskatchewan

Medical examinations are to be performed not less than once every two years and with consent of the worker. A medical examination arranged must include, a comprehensive medical history and physical examination with special attention to the respiratory system, lung-function tests, any further medical investigations that are necessary for the diagnosis of a silica-related disease.

For more information on Saskatchewan’s requirements, click here.

Yukon

The employer shall ensure that each worker who is exposed to dust containing 1% or more by weight free silica at or above 50% of those limits listed in Table 10 is medically examined. A worker shall be medically examined within 30 days of the commencement of employment or exposure.
Additional periodic medical examination shall be carried out at intervals prescribed by a qualified medical practitioner but in no case shall the interval exceed 3 years.
Biological monitoring shall include the measurement of Forced Expiratory Volume in one second and the Forced Vital Capacity, and a chest x-ray on a film approximately 35 × 43 cm (14” x 17”). These tests shall be carried out at each medical examination and at any other time as determined by a qualified medical practitioner. The chest x-ray films shall be interpreted by a physician competent to do so.

For more information on Yukon’s requirements, click here.

Canadian Jurisdictions OEL1 (mg/m3)
Canada Labour Code 0.025 r
AB, BC, MB, NL, NS, PE 0.025 r
NB 0.1 r
SK 0.05 r, cristobalite, quartz
0.1 r, tripoli
ON 0.05 cristobalite
0.1 quartz, tripoli
NU, NT, QC 0.05 r, cristobalite, tridymite
0.1 r, quartz, tripoli
YT 300 particles/mL quartz
150 particles/mL cristobalite, tridymite, tripoli
Other Jurisdiction OEL (mg/m3)
ACGIH 2014 TLV 0.025 r

1: OEL for both quartz and cristobalite, unless otherwise specified.

2: Exposure limit determined with a konimeter, an instrument that measures dust in mines.
mg/m3 = milligrams per cubic meter

r = respirable fraction

http://www.carexcanada.ca

Alberta Health Services

From 2002-2009, 2 cases of silicosis were reported to the Director of Medical Services.

In the same period there were 16 deaths in Alberta due to silicosis.

WCB

In the past 10 years, WCB has accepted 29 claims for probable and confirmed silicosis.

AHW

Over 850 cases of silicosis form emergency, hospital or physician claims data (10 year period).

SureHire will ensure that all our clients are aware of the regulations within their province so that the employer is doing their due diligence in complying with these regulations.

Testimonials & Case Studies

This industrial construction company implemented pre-hire Fitness-to-Work testing with SureHire in April 2012. From April 2012 to December 2015, *4322* candidates were tested.

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