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11. Medical Surveillance


Medical surveillance refers to the administrative and clinical procedures relevant to the supervision of the health of workers. All workers, whether they are employed in production, administration, sales or supervisory capacities should be covered by a health monitoring program. The ILO Code of Practice on Asbestos recommends that workers' health supervision should include a pre-assignment medical examination, periodic medical examinations, and medical examinations in and where practicable following cessation of employment.

Only professionally qualified doctors specialized in radiographics analysis can perform medical examinations in accordance with national laws and regulations. These medical examinations must be performed free of charge to the employees and if possible during working hours. Employees who submit themselves to the health monitoring have the right to a detailed explanation of their health status. Copies of medical records should remain at the disposal of employees, or upon request be made available to their personal physician.

All medical documents must be filled and kept during a minimum of 40 years after cessation of employment, depending on the country. In Québec, records are kept indefinitely. A register of every person on the payroll must be kept indicating the dates of medical examinations and the location of the results as well as the last date of employment. Depending on government regulations, the data can be transferred to a central filing system, but confidentiality must still be enforced.

Medical surveillance must never be used to replace environmental surveillance or effective engineering controls.

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