Medical Surveillance Helps to Detect Health Threat to Workers

More and more evidence suggests that those working in the commercial coffee manufacturing industry or local cafes should be concerned about their health. A study of workers at a coffee manufacturing facility showed that they had more respiratory issues than workers of a similar age group working in a different industry.

Those working on a production line performing fairly innocuous tasks such roasting, scooping beans, grinding and packaging coffee could be at risk of developing sinus and other mucous membrane symptoms. This fact is a result of their interaction with green coffee dust, chaff and roasted coffee dust, according to the study.

A third of the workers screened had abnormal breathing tests, with the likely culprits being two volatile organic compounds – diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione – found in the production process.

Diacetyl was blamed for many injuries and some deaths in the microwave popcorn industry during the early 2000s.

If medical surveillance had not been carried out at the coffee production facility, the business in question would never have known the condition of its employees. The company would not have been able to change its safety and production standards.

Medical surveillance is the assessment of employees exposed, or potentially exposed, to occupational hazards. By carrying out an assessment of your workers, you can monitor individuals for adverse health effects and determine if your work conditions are contributing to poor health. This will allow you to take preventative measures.

New advances in healthcare and medicines can help keep your staff strong, fit and well enough to carry out necessary tasks. It is the employer’s role to ensure that steps are taken to promote the health of their employees, especially if they happen to work in hazardous environments.

How Can Minnesota Occupational Health Help With Medical Surveillance?

Medical surveillance usually involves attaining a standard level of one or more materials that workers have been or will be exposed to, then continually retesting to make sure that safe levels of exposures are preserved. When a level surpasses standards for safe exposure, Minnesota Occupational Health works with employers, employees and environmental health and safety professionals to help lessen any lasting impact on the workers. MOH can advise employers on work environment processes, policies and equipment to ensure safe exposure levels for particular duties.

Related Information:


Medical Surveillance for Workers’ Health. (2017, October 17). Retrieved November 02, 2017, from

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