Emergency Preparedness and Response

HAZWOPER Medical Surveillance FAQs—Part 2


HAZWOPER Medical Surveillance FAQs—Part 2

Q: At what time(s) are medical examinations and consultations required for employees covered under the HAZWOPER regulations?

A: The frequency requirements for medical examinations and consultations are established as follows:

For employees covered under 1910.120(f)(2)(i), (ii), and (iv), employers must make medical examinations and consultations available:

  • Before assignment,
  • At least once every 12 months for each employee covered unless the attending physician believes a longer interval (not greater than biennially) is appropriate,
  • When the employee is terminated or reassigned to an area where that employee would not be covered, if the employee has not had an examination within the last 6 months,
  • As soon as possible upon notification by an employee that the employee has developed signs or symptoms indicating possible overexposure to hazardous substances or health hazards, or that the employee has been injured or exposed above the PELs or published exposure levels in an emergency situation, and
  • At more frequent times if the examining physician determines that an increased frequency of examination is medically necessary.

For all employees who may have been injured, received a health impairment, developed signs or symptoms that may be the result of exposure to hazardous substances resulting from an emergency incident, or were exposed to other health hazards as defined in 1910.120(f)(2)(iii), employers must make medical examinations and consultations available:

  • As soon as possible following the emergency incident or the development of signs or symptoms, and
  • At additional times, if the examining physician determines that follow-up examinations or consultations are medically necessary.

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Q: In 29 CFR 1910.120(f)(5), how should the term “reasonable time” regarding the timing of medical examinations be interpreted by employers with covered employees?

A: In general, OSHA interprets “reasonable time” to mean during normal working hours and at a time that is “convenient to the employee” and without loss of pay. According to OSHA, when examinations take place outside of normal working hours, employers must pay the employee for that time, including time in transport to the examination. In either case, employers must also cover the employee’s transportation costs for traveling off the work site to the examination.


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Q: Are employers required to provide the results of a medical examination to the employee?

A: Employers are required by 1910.120(f)(7) to provide the employee with the attending physician’s written opinion,  which must include:

  • Any detected medical conditions that would place the employee at increased risk of material health impairment from HAZWOPER work or from respirator use,
  • Any recommended limitations on the employee’s assigned work,
  • Results of the medical examination and tests if requested by the employee, and
  • A statement that the physician has informed the employee of the results of the medical examination and any medical conditions that require further examination or treatment.

This written physician’s opinion shall not reveal specific findings or diagnoses unrelated to occupational exposures.

Employers that do business in states with the authority to operate their own job safety and health programs should always refer to the agency with jurisdiction for compliance assistance. According to OSHA, 22 states currently operate complete state plans that include both private sector and state and local government employees and 5 that cover public employees only. To check on the status of your state, go to https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/faq.html.