On this page:

Health monitoring requirements

A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must ensure health monitoring is provided to a worker if the worker:

  • is carrying out ongoing work using, handling, generating or storing hazardous chemicals, and there is a significant risk to the worker’s health because of exposure to a hazardous chemical listed in Schedule 14 to the WHS Regulations
  • is carrying out ongoing work using, handling, generating or storing hazardous chemicals and there is a significant risk the worker will be exposed to hazardous chemicals other than those listed in Schedule 14 and either:
    • valid techniques are available to detect the effect on the worker’s health, or
    • a valid way of determining exposure is available and it is uncertain on reasonable grounds whether exposure has resulted in the biological exposure standard being exceeded
  • commences or is conducting lead risk work, or
  • is carrying out licensed asbestos removal or other asbestos related work.

A list of chemicals where health monitoring may be required is provided in the Hazardous chemicals requiring health monitoring guidance. The minimum health monitoring requirements as specified in the WHS Regulations are also provided.

The PCBU has a duty to determine ‘significant risk’ and to decide if a program of health monitoring is necessary. Significant risk decisions are made taking into consideration the likelihood of exposure to a hazardous chemical in conjunction with the known health effects of the chemical. Consultation with you may be needed to determine if testing for exposure to the chemical being used is available to monitor potential effects on a worker’s health status.

The PCBU, in consultation with you, should consider instigating a health monitoring program for chemicals with severe known health effects, for example chemicals that are known, or are presumed to be, carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to human reproduction, respiratory or skin sensitisers or those with other known severe toxic effects.

Significant risk

It is the responsibility of the PCBU to determine whether or not the risk to workers is significant and whether or not health monitoring is required. However, the PCBU may need to seek expert advice, for example from you or an occupational hygienist, to assist in determining the level of risk.

For chemicals listed in Schedule 14 to the WHS Regulations, a significant risk is considered to be one where a worker’s health is adversely affected by exposure to the hazardous chemical. For other hazardous chemicals, including lead and asbestos different tests for deciding health monitoring apply. Further information can be found in the Health monitoring guide for PCBUs.

In deciding if risk is significant, the PCBU should consider:

  • the nature and severity of the hazard for each hazardous chemical taking into account:
    • the classification of the chemical according to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)
      • for example irritant, sensitiser, carcinogen, acute toxicant
    • the form of the chemical in workplace processes
      • for example solid, granulated, dust, mist, fume, and
    • the route of entry by which the chemical can adversely affect health
      • for example inhalation, ingestion, skin contact and absorption
  • the degree of exposure to workers, taking account of:
    • where in the workplace the chemicals are used, handled, stored or generated
    • who could be exposed and at what levels or concentrations exposure could occur
    • the quantities and concentrations (pure or dilute) of chemicals being used, handled, stored or generated
    • standard work practices, procedures and control measures
    • the way individual workers carry out their daily tasks
    • whether existing control measures adequately control exposure, and
    • how often and for how long exposure is likely to occur.

If the PCBU has determined there is significant risk, they should provide you the information leading to this decision.

More information about how a PCBU decides if health monitoring is needed can be found in the Health monitoring guide for PCBUs.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Please let us know.

Share this page:

Facebook    LinkedIn    Twitter    Email