Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Asthma in the Workplace

Dear <<Most Favored Employer Client>>:

Work-related asthma is a growing problem.

Occupational asthma is due to inhaled irritants in the workplace that may cause wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. 15-30% of adult asthma in the US is caused or exacerbated by workplace exposures.

Symptoms may be evident right away or in some cases worsen gradually over a long course of exposure.  Common irritants in the workplace are cleaning products, paint, dust from wood or food products, molds, animals, insects and latex.

Occupational asthma can result in significant costs. Reduced productivity, medical costs and disability can take it’s toll on not only the employee/patient, but also the employer.  Some employees must change jobs due to chronic exposures if environmental controls or personal protective gear are not provided or are ineffective.

The California Work-Related Asthma Prevention Program collects information from healthcare providers, hospitals, and workers’ compensation to identify cases and carries out worksite investigations to identify risk factors and make recommendations for prevention.

What Can you do?

  1. Prevention – reduce or eliminate known irritants in your workplace.  Provide personal protection equipment (PPE) to potentially exposed workers.  Even if not falling under the OSHA respiratory standard, workers with asthma or sensitive to these irritants may benefit from a dust mask or N-95 type mask.
  2. Early Detection – Workers with the symptoms cited above suspected of having a workplace exposure should be promptly evaluated with a physical examination and a spirometry test.  Workers should be encouraged to report exposures, irritants and issues with any protective or environmental control measures.
  3. Encourage Smoking Cessation – create a smoke free work environment and offer smoking cessation programs to employees wishing to quit.

We’re attaching OSHA’s guide on Workplace Asthma.  Please share this with your employees and let us know if you’d like more information on controlling asthma in your workplace.

We’re happy to discuss any of your workplace health needs, just give us a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx or email at workdocs@occmed.com

PS – enjoy this breathing song – With Every Breath I Take”  Frank Sinatra

OSHA attachment:

OSHA occupational asthma for employees.pdf

Make sure your providers are conversant in treating worker’s comp injuries – see the Occmed for Providers course to get everyone up to speed


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