Your employer health monitoring duties
The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations) require an employer to carry out health monitoring for an employee if an employee's exposure to crystalline silica dust is reasonably likely to have an adverse effect on their health.
The OHS Regulations also set out additional health monitoring responsibilities for employers, particularly in relation to reporting requirements and record keeping.
Using the free WorkSafe crystalline silica health assessments to meet your health monitoring duties
WorkSafe is offering a free health assessment to all past and present workers in the Victorian stonemason industry.
The tests that are undertaken as part of WorkSafe's free health assessment are similar to the health monitoring tests that are carried out under the OHS Regulations.
This means that you will satisfy your health monitoring duties under the OHS Regulations if your employee voluntarily participates in a free health screening assessment, and consents to:
- releasing the report of their testing to you
- you storing a record of their report
- you providing a copy of this report to WorkSafe in certain circumstances.
What if an employee refuses to participate in the free health assessment program?
WorkSafe's free health assessment program is voluntary for all employees. As an employer, you can't compel an employee to take part in this program if they don't wish to do so.
If an employee does not wish to participate in this program and you are required to undertake health monitoring under the OHS Regulations, you will continue to have this obligation.
What if an employee participates in the free health assessment program but does not consent to the release or storage of their information?
Even if your employee agrees to take part in WorkSafe's free health assessment program, they are not obligated to provide a copy of this report to you.
If you would like a copy of an employee's free health screening report, you must obtain your employee's prior written consent, and ensure that they also understand that in providing a copy of this report to you, you may be required to:
- store a copy of their report for a period specified by the OHS Regulations
- disclose the contents of the report to WorkSafe in certain circumstances.
If an employee does not consent to the release or storage of their health screening report, you will continue to have a duty to carry out health monitoring in accordance with the OHS Regulations.
Health monitoring and health screening reports
If you are required to undertake health monitoring under the OHS Regulations, you must ensure that the registered medical practitioner who does the assessment prepares a health monitoring report, and that this report includes the relevant information that is required under the OHS Regulations. Once the medical practitioner has completed this report, you should ensure that a copy is received from them directly.
If your employee voluntarily participates in the free health screening program and consented to a copy of this report being provided to you, you must get a copy of the report directly from your employee.
An employee's health screening report cannot be directly requested from the medical practitioner involved or from WorkSafe.
Record keeping requirements
Under the OHS Regulations, you must keep health monitoring reports for at least 30 years.
If your employee has undertaken a free health assessment and has consented to you receiving a copy of this report, you will not be required to keep a copy of this report unless you intend to use it to comply with your health monitoring record keeping duties under the OHS Regulations.
In these circumstances, you must ensure that your employee is made aware that their results may be stored, and that in certain circumstances you may be required to provide a copy of this report to WorkSafe.
It's recommended that health monitoring is carried out annually, or as advised by the registered medical practitioner.
If your employee undertakes a free health assessment this year, you will need to ensure that you continue to undertake health monitoring on an ongoing basis if you are required by the OHS Regulations to undertake health monitoring.