Periodic pulmonary function test (PFT) screening of individual workers can detect breathing problems or significant changes in lung function at an early stage so that hazardous workplace exposures can be identified and eliminated to prevent or reduce occupational lung disease. Equally important, surveillance can detect changes in lung function over time among groups of workers with similar exposures and thus help to recognize serious health effects in the workplace at a time when individual results may not be severe or noticeable. Employers should consider periodically reviewing grouped data from worksite exposure assessments with a healthcare professional and should be alert for any significant changes in grouped results. Reviewing grouped data may help identify occupational exposures and assist in reducing or eliminating any hazards identified.
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