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Pulmonary Function Testing

Pulmonary Function Testing

Spirometry is used to measure how fast an individual can move air in and out of their lungs and determines whether that person’s lung capacity falls within a normal range based on their age, weight, sex, race, and smoking status.

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Spirometry is the most common type of pulmonary function testing.

Spirometry is used to measure how fast an individual can move air in and out of their lungs and determines whether that person’s lung capacity falls within a normal range based on their age, weight, sex, race, and smoking status.

Many provincial workplace safety organizations state that worker lung health is the responsibility of the employer.

“Where a worker suffers chest disease due in part to occupational and in part to non-occupational factors, the overall disability will be presumed to be related to the employment and compensation awarded accordingly.” – Alberta WCB’s Alberta Permanent Clinical Impairment Guide

SureHire recommends that companies with workers exposed to airborne particulates implement an annual lung health program which consists of spirometry, chest X-rays, fitness-to-wear (a respirator questionnaire), and mask fit testing.

This program will allow employers to manage airborne hazards and promote early identification and intervention.

Employers that implement a pre-employment lung health program are able to independently record baseline values of workers with pre-existing conditions.

Who should do spirometry testing?

Spirometry tests provide important information for workers who are exposed to airborne particulates in the workplace.

Many workplace substances can cause breathing problems or lung damage. For example:

  • Dust from wood, cotton, coal, asbestos, silica, talc, cereal grains, coffee, pesticides, drug or enzyme powders, metals, and fiberglass.
  • Fumes from metals that are heated and cooled quickly. These fumes occur in welding, smelting, furnace work, pottery making, plastics manufacturing, and rubber operations.
  • Smoke from burning organic materials. For instance, firefighters are at an increased risk of lung damage from smoke.
  • Gases such as formaldehyde, ammonia, chlorine, sulfur dioxide, ozone and nitrogen oxides. These gases occur in welding, brazing, smelting, oven drying, and furnace work.
  • Vapors, which are a form of gas given off by all liquids.
  • Mists or sprays from paints, lacquers (such as varnish), hair spray, pesticides, cleaning products, acids, oils, and solvents (such as turpentine).

Workers exposed to these substances should submit to annual spirometry testing in order to monitor their lung health.

You will first be required to present some form of government-issued photo identification when you come in for your appointment.

If you are coming in for a private appointment, payment must be made prior to testing. Forms of payment accepted include debit card or credit card.

Once your ID is verified, you will receive paperwork to fill out. This paperwork includes an authorization allowing SureHire to perform the test and provide the results to your employer/potential employer. If you are coming in for a private test, the form will have a spot where you can indicate where you would like the results to be sent. You will also have a short form to fill out indicating your contact information and any prescription or over-the-counter drugs that you are currently using.

Once your paperwork is submitted, you must not leave the testing facility until testing is complete. If you choose to leave the testing facility, it will be indicated as a refusal to test and considered a fail.

How to Prepare

  • Bring your government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, passport, military ID, etc.)
  • Do not smoke for one hour before the test
  • Do not drink alcohol within four hours of the test
  • Do not eat a large meal within two hours of the test
  • Wear loose clothing
  • Do not perform vigorous exercise within 30 minutes of the test
  • If you are on puffer medications, you may be asked to refrain from taking them for a few hours before spirometry. Ask your doctor (or the centre performing the test) beforehand if this applies to you.

Testing Expectations:

  • You will need to fill out a form with required information (Name, Age, Height, Weight, Sex, Smoke Ind. & Ethnicity)
  • You will be informed you will be performing a Spirometry test. The tester will explain what the test is about.
  • The test will be performed while you are in a standing position. A chair will be placed behind you in case you become light-headed.
  • The tester assisting you will demonstrate what you will need to do to perform the Spirometry test.
  • Once the test has be performed and at least two acceptable tests have occurred you will be finished.

Schedule of Acceptable Identification


  • Valid permanent driver’s licence issued in Canada or the United States of America, as permitted to be used for identification purposes under provincial law.
  • Valid passport issued by the government of residing country.
  • Certificate of Indian Status issued by the Government of Canada.
  • A document or card, bearing the individual’s photograph and signature, issued by any of the following authorities:
    -Insurance Corporation of British Columbia
    -Alberta Registries
    -Saskatchewan Government Insurance
    -Department of Service Nova Scotia, Department of Transportation, Province of Prince Edward Island
    -Service New Brunswick, Department of Government Service, Province of Newfoundland and Labrador
    -Department of Transportation of the Northwest Territories, Department of Community Government and Transportation of the Territory of Nunavut
  • Firearms licence or military ID
  • Homeless Aid Centre photo identification
  • Correctional Centre photo identification

Please note: photos or photocopies of ID will NOT be accepted.


    -Employee photo identity card, issued by an employer that is well-known in the community.
    -Certificate of Canadian Citizenship or a Certification of Naturalization, in the form of a paper document or card, but not a commemorative issue.
    -A provincial health insurance card, as permitted to be used for identification purposes under provincial law.
    -Social Insurance Number card issued by the Government of Canada (note: printable SIN cards will not be accepted).
    -Birth certificate issued in Canada.
    -Interim Driver’s License.
    -Employee ID card – from a reputable company within the community
    -Oil Sands ID card
    -Student ID card – from a reputable educational institution within the community
    -Gym membership
    -Costco ID card


  • If no ID is available, the tester will call your employer and speak to their DER. If the manager gives the tester a satisfactory physical description of the client or confirmation of personal information, the testing can proceed.
  • Management ID: 3 contact attempts within 30 minutes. If the tester cannot obtain management ID, online bookings will be advised that the client does not have sufficient ID to continue with testing. You will need to contact your company to re-book the appointment.


  • If no ID is available, the client must get a notarized letter with a photo attached to the actual letter. Any lawyer, doctor, pastor or other notary can provide this.

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.

Read the full case study

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