University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository

University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository


Occupational Medicine


Tom Colletti, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA


The Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) medical surveillance examinations of employees (EE) that work on a hazardous material (HAZMAT) team are essential for continued certification to respond to hazardous material emergencies. This annual medical surveillance exam assesses fitness for duty on a HAZMAT team in stressful environments, such as rescue and containment of dangerous substances while wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). There is little guidance in the literature for novice clinicians about the essential elements of a HAZWOPER exam. Primary care clinicians may not be familiar with HAZWOPER exams until asked by an employer to perform one and certify their employee. Knowledge of the essential elements, workload imposed upon individuals, and specific organ systems that need special attention due to the hazards they may encounter will benefit the clinician. Determining the employee's capacity to wear the required PPE is a primary responsibility. Clinicians aware of the primary and essential elements of the HAZWOPER exam can make better decisions regarding certifying individuals to perform work on a HAZMAT team.

Keywords: HAZWOPER, HAZMAT, OSHA, Medical surveillance, Hazardous exposure


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