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Occupational Health Programme

Elements of The NUS Occupational Health Programme

The occupational health programme consists of the following elements: 

1. Appointment of NUS Occupational Health Consultants
  a

While UHWC will be the primary provider for medical assessment and advice, we would still required specialist occupational health consultants to advise PIs embarking on very specialized research, for example the appropriate vaccinations required for working with higher risk infectious agents (BSL 3 work).

  b

The University will appoint occupational health consultants based on their area of expertise to be designated NUS occupational health consultants.

  c

PIs are generally required to use their funds from granting agencies for payment to consultants. If the granting agency objects to such payment, PIs may approach OSHE for financial assistance.

 
2. Risk Assessment
  a

Principal Investigators (PIs) & Managers are responsible for identifying the occupational health needs of staff and students under their supervision. In considering these occupational health needs, the Principal Investigator & Manager shall adopt relevant sections of this programme and local legislation that would be applicable to their research. The PI can consult Faculty Safety Officers and/or OSHE for advice. The mandatory type of health controls that shall be done are defined in the next section.

  b

The PIs/Managers are to document the relevant occupational health controls in their risk assessment applications such as medical surveillance, industrial hygiene monitoring, personal monitoring, etc for approval by the Institutional Laboratory Safety Committee and/or Institutional Biosafety Committee under the current NUS Risk Assessment System.

  c

The PIs/Managers are to communicate the necessary occupational health assessments/vaccinations required for his/her staff and students to the UHWC physicians. This information will be captured in a database maintained by OSHE so as to monitor that medical assessments/vaccinations, etc are followed through.

  d

Any staff or student who is not willing to participate in occupation health programmes such as medical assessments, immunization programmes, etc shall make their preferences known to the PI in writing.

3. Compulsory Medical Assessments & Surveillance
  a

Where legislation defines the occupational health controls that are to be mandatory, the PI/Manager and his/her students shall approach the UHWC for the necessary personal medical assessments or surveillance.

  b Current legislative requirements are as follows:
   
Health hazard
Condition/s Relevant Legislation To Comply With

Noise


If staff or student is exposed to noise sources resulting in noise exposure levels of 85 dBA over a period of 8 hours.


Factories Act and its subsidiary legislation

Factories (Noise) Regulations

Chemical


If staff or student is expected or suspected to be exposed to scheduled chemicals at levels beyond their permissible exposure limits.


Factories Act and its subsidiary legislation

Factories
(Medical Examinations) Regulations

Radiation


If staff or student is to work with ionizing or non ionizing radiation sources or equipment.


Radiation Protection Act

Radiation Protection Act
(Ionizing Radiation)

Radiation Protection Act
(Non-ionizing Radiation)
     
  c In addition the University shall require the following mandatory health controls for work with material of animal or human origin:

Health hazard

Condition/s

Mandatory Occupational Health Controls


Animal

If staff or students are working with animals


Staff and students to be administered with a tetanus vaccine prior to working with these animals and a booster shot every 10 years.


Materials of human origin

If staff or student will be in contact with human blood, tissues, etc (non commercial sources)

Staff and students to be tested if Hepatitis antibodies are present. If negative, staff and student to be administered with a Hepatitis B vaccine. After six months screening of antibody levels should be done. Re-screening should be done 10 years later.

Any material containing infectious agents of risk group 2 and above


If staff or student is conducting deliberate research on materials containing risk group 2 and above agents


To determine appropriate medical surveillance, immunization needed by referring to the MSDS of the infectious agent.
 
   d
PI must develop an agent specific occupational health programme for research staff and students working in BSL 2 laboratories.
 
  e

Generally for research related activities, PIs are to use research grants to pay for staff and students medical expenses. It is therefore important for the PI to include the necessary occupational health costs during the proposal stage.

     
  f
If PIs are unable to secure funds from the granting agencies, he or she shall request funding from OSHE.
(Please use the following form to request for funding . . )
     
  g
For teaching related activities, Departments may approach OSHE for funding (Please use the following form to request for funding  . . )
     
  h
PIs/Managers are responsible for monitoring follow up medical programmes for staff and students under his or her supervision.
   
4. Industrial Hygiene
  a
For industrial hygiene monitoring, the PI/Manager is to contact the Office of Safety, Health and Environment to arrange for such assessments.
  b
The PI/Manager shall review all exposure data that he or she receives from medical assessments and monitoring exercises that were conducted. In reviewing these data, the PI shall consider current legislative exposure limits.
  c
A copy of this data should be forwarded to the Faculty Safety Officers / Coordinators for review. FSO will inform PIs if there is an increasing trend and he/she should implement appropriate corrective actions.
 
5. Occupational related diseases, infection or illness
   a
In the event of over exposure to hazardous agent resulting in possible infection, disease or illness, the PI/manager shall ensure:

i.
The staff and student are sent for medical assessment at UHWC during office hours and Accident & Emergency Units of Hospitals after office hours.
ii.
A report is submitted to OSHE via the online NUS Accident and Incident Reporting System (AIRS)
    
6. Document Control
   a
The PI/Managers shall keep all industrial hygiene monitoring and related records of their NUS staff or students during the period of supervision. At the end of employment or graduation, these documents should be forwarded to Faculty Safety Officer for filing.
    
7. Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)Programme
   a
PPE should be the last option for consideration in reducing exposure to hazardous agents.
   b
Wherever a risk assessment has shown that PPE is required to protect staff and students from exposure to hazardous agents, the PI should ensure that the relevant PPE is provided and staff or students undertake the necessary training on the use, maintenance and limitations on the use of PPE such as gloves, eye goggles, respirators, etc.
   c
For respirator use, the staff and student should undergo necessary fit testing. The staff and student should also conduct regular fit checks.
    
8. Training & Competency
  a
The PI/Manager is responsible for educating the staff or student under his or her supervision about the unique health hazards associated with their project and the relevant controls that should be implemented. The training protocols shall be documented.
  b
OSHE will provide occupational health related training and source for external trainers wherever necessary.
    .
 
         

 

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