Medical Screening and Surveillance
Medical screening and medical surveillance are two fundamental strategies for optimizing employee health. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, they are quite distinct concepts. Medical screening is, in essence, only one component of a comprehensive medical surveillance program. The fundamental purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment of the individual and thus has a clinical focus. The fundamental purpose of surveillance is to detect and eliminate the underlying causes such as hazards or exposures of any discovered trends and thus has a prevention focus. Both can contribute significantly to the success of worksite health and safety programs. However OSHA "medical surveillance" requirements are generally clinically focused (e.g.,medical and work histories, physical assessment, biological testing) with information obtained from the clinical processes used in the monitoring and analysis elements of medical surveillance.
Medical screening and surveillance are addressed in specific OSHA standards for general industry.
OSHA's COVID-19 Safety and Health Topics page provides specific information about protecting workers from coronavirus during the ongoing outbreak.
- Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire. OSHA InfoSheet (Publication 3789), (May 2015).
- Spirometry Testing in Occupational Health Programs - Best Practices for Healthcare Professionals. OSHA Publication 3637, (2013).
- Maximize Your Spirometry Screening and Surveillance Resources. OSHA/NIOSH InfoSheet (OSHA Publication 3415), (2011).
- Protect Yourself - Spirometry Breathing Test. OSHA/NIOSH Worker Info (OSHA Publication 3418), (2011).
- Medical Evaluation of Renal Effects of Cadmium Exposures. OSHA Brief (Publication 3675), (August 2013).