What is Spirometry?

A spirometry test is a lung function or Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) that may be ordered when clearing an individual to wear a respirator for work.

The Importance of Respirators

Several industries mandate that workers wear a respirator while other employers make respirators available in certain circumstances, even if not required. Respirators can range from a standard dust mask, half or full-face filter mask all the way to an entirely enclosed Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), such as those worn by firefighters and people who work in confined spaces. Medical requirements to meet OSHA standards are determined by the reason for respirator use, the type of respirator, the duration and frequency that a respirator is worn and the age and respiratory health of a worker.

Whether your respirator protection program is an OSHA requirement or a voluntary offering, forming an effective respiratory surveillance program helps to keep your employees protected, reducing potential medical expenses and lost time.

The Spirometry Test

During a test, the patient is asked to take a deep breath and then secure his or her lips around the spirometer. Once the spirometer is in place, the patient breathes out as quickly and with as much force as possible, maintaining the exhale as long as possible. The device determines if the test is valid. Three valid tests are captured and compared. Measurements on the spirometer are read by a medical provider who determines if a worker can wear a respirator on anywhere from a daily to emergency-only basis. The frequency of retesting is determined by the medical provider based upon respirator types, how often and for how long respirators are worn, and the respiratory health of a worker.

MN Occupational Health performs spirometry tests – or pulmonary function tests – on behalf of employers in the Twin Cities. Contact us online or by calling 651-968-5740 to learn more.

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