Medical surveillance under OSHA's ethylene oxide standard in hospitals: research findings and their implications for employee health practice.
J Hosp Occup Health 1995 Jan; 25(1):1-9
The results of an evaluation examining implementation by hospitals of OSHA mandated ethylene-oxide (75218) (EtO) medical surveillance were presented. This evaluation included two studies, one which reviewed EtO medical surveillance records, exposure monitoring data and other information from an EtO surveillance program being used in one facility, and another study which surveyed EtO users at several hospitals in Massachusetts. Sixty two percent of the 92 hospitals surveyed in the second study reported having provided EtO medical surveillance between 1985 and 1993. This surveillance was commonly provided following accidental releases but rarely provided when the action level was exceeded. About two thirds of the medical surveillance providers surveyed reported performing all five procedures stipulated by OSHA to be performed when EtO medical surveillance was provided; medical history, physical exam, and complete blood counts were almost always used. Only about 75% reported performing work histories or leukocyte differentials. In house employee or occupational health departments were reported to provide EtO surveillance in 75% of the cases. Other providers included emergency rooms, outside providers, other hospitals, and an outpatient clinic. Twenty seven percent of the hospitals reported having identified EtO related symptoms as a result of their surveillance. The implications of these findings for practice were discussed. The authors conclude that despite inconsistent implementation, EtO health surveillance appears to be playing an important role in public health.
NIOSH-Grant; Grants-other; Ethylenes; Oxides; Occupational-exposure; Health-programs; Occupational-health-programs; Surveillance-programs; Epidemiology; Health-care-personnel; Health-standards
Environmental Health Harvard Sch of Public Hlth 665 Huntington Ave Boston, MA 02115
Other Occupational Concerns; Grants-other
Journal of Hospital Occupational Health
Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts