Just like any healthcare practitioner, an occupational health professional needs specific tools to do their job effectively. The tools below will help you determine if a patient is well enough to do the essential functions of their job:
Vision screeners can measure eyesight and determine if a person can see well enough to effectively do their job. These devices can measure glare, sensitivity to light, and sharpness of the eyes. Additionally, they can detect eye disorders such as astigmatism and macular degeneration, which can eventually lead to vision loss if not treated.
Many professions require to ability to see well. For example, a truck driver needs good depth perception, peripheral vision, and farsightedness to be able to effectively see road signs and other vehicles on the road. Likewise, a forklift operator needs healthy eyesight to safely move and load pallets of products in tight spaces. A vision screener can also test night vision, which is important for people who work night shifts.
Physical labor is basically exercise. In order to exercise, you need healthy lungs. A spirometer measures air capacity of the lungs to inform the practitioner how efficiently the lungs are working to get air in and out of the body. This tool is particularly useful in helping diagnose lung conditions that may prevent someone from performing their essential job duties and clearing people with known lung conditions to go back to work.
Annual spirometry tests can also give better insight on how a job is affecting an employee’s lungs. For instance, if you work with firefighters who’ve inhaled a good deal of smoke and chemicals while saving lives, you may want to screen them annually to see how their lungs are being affected.
The key component of a hearing conservation program is the audiometer. Being able to hear is essential to many jobs. Employees in a warehouse need to be able to hear a forklift if it’s driving by or backing up near them. People in professions that require a lot of driving need to be able to hear honking horns or emergency vehicle sirens to ensure they’re being safe on the road. An audiometer can effectively screen someone and determine whether their hearing is adequate enough to keep them and the people around them safe when working.
The Tremetrics RA660 is an audiometer built specifically for occupational health professionals. With the ability to test up to eight people at once, it’ll save you time with your hearing examinations. Additionally, it comes with an integrated Bio-acoustic simulator for daily calibration checks and an optional room monitor that ensures testing conditions are compliant with OSHA and ANSI standards.
Hearing Test Booth
To ensure you’re getting the most accurate hearing test readings, you need a noise-controlled environment to conduct testing in. It is required by ANSI OSHA that background noise doesn’t exceed a certain level. For exact noise levels, refer to the table below.
Built with soundproof materials, hearing test booths help reduce ambient noise, resulting in more accurate hearing tests. They come in various shapes and sizes, so even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can find a booth that will fit in your space. Some even come with wheels with swivel and lockable casters to you can easily move the booth from room to room.
Muscle strength is important for many physical jobs. For example, a construction worker who is expected to handle heavy equipment, move heavy debris, and carry other heavy materials needs to have a significant amount of strength to do their job.
Dynamometers give you the ability to test a patient’s muscles strength so you can determine if they’re able to physically perform their job duties. Additionally, this type of device is also good for tracking the physical therapy progress of a patient recovering from an injury.
Just as a dynamometer tests a patient’s muscle strength, an inclinometer tests their range of motion. This kind of testing is essential for patients recovering from injury. It can effectively determine how well they are progressing with physical therapy and determine any other limitations.
Range of motion testing is especially useful in evaluations for insurance or disability hearings. There are many professions in which a person can’t fully perform job duties without full range of motion, so an inclinometer is essential to occupational health specialists.
By having these six essential tools, you’ll better equip yourself to effectively test your patients and determine whether or not they can work.