8. Health monitoring, biological monitoring and biological effect monitoring
Monitoring the health of workers where the effects from an activity or exposure at work are suspected of causing ill health effects, but the association has yet to be fully established. This would follow the same principles as health surveillance but is not a legal requirement. Where relevant refer to industry guidance. You should consult with your occupational health professional for advice on the approach to implement in your workplace.
Biological monitoring and biological effect monitoring
Biological monitoring is the measurement of a chemical or its breakdown products in a biological sample (usually urine or blood) to indicate how much chemical has entered the body by all routes of exposure. For example, measurement of lead in blood of workers exposed to lead dust.
Biological effect monitoring is the measurement of biological effects resulting from absorption of chemicals. For example, measurement of protein in urine of workers exposed to cadmium to check their kidney function.
Biological monitoring and biological effect monitoring can play a role in exposure assessment and health surveillance, helping you evaluate your control measures and manage risks to workers’ health. In setting up a biological monitoring programme, you should seek advice from an occupational health professional, and you may need to involve an occupational health physician.