When is a pulmonary function test necessary?

If there is any risk of the air in your workplace being contaminated by disease-causing organisms, hazardous chemicals, or particulates, pulmonary function testing is necessary. Biolabs, work areas where solvents are in use, or areas with dusty air are examples. A program of pulmonary function testing provides a baseline of how well employee lungs work. A program on ongoing tests allows you to track employee health over time and catch potential issues early.

Workplace hazards are not the only threats to employee lung health. Conditions like asthma, bronchitis, COPD and a history of smoking also impair respiratory health. A pulmonary function test can uncover breathing problems so that an employee can address them.

How is a pulmonary function test performed?

A pulmonary function test (PFT) will uncover lung conditions, whether the result of employee health and lifestyle issues or caused by workplace hazards.

How a pulmonary function test works is that an employee will meet with a licensed pulmonary therapist approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

After providing a short medical history that includes weight, height, age, gender, and nationality, the employee will start the test. The therapist will instruct the employee to take long big breaths, hold it, or take short breaths, breathing into a tube connected to a spirometer. The spirometer measures how much air is breathed in and breathed out and the speed of the air when inhaled and exhaled. Some machines include a respirometer which measures how much oxygen is taken in.

Results are compared to those of the general population, against other employees in the company, and, when possible, the employee’s past performance.

Get specifics on a pulmonary function test program for your company

We can help you promote lung health and prevent problems with a pulmonary function test designed for your workplace. Call us directly at 225-376-2601 or fill out the form below.

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