Asbestos-Related Work Health Surveillance Medicals

Asbestos Medical Surveillance: Ensuring Health and Safety

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on asbestos medical surveillance, a vital aspect of workplace health and safety. Asbestos exposure poses significant risks to workers’ health, necessitating proactive measures to mitigate potential health hazards. At Employees Health we prioritise the well-being of our employees and adhere to Safe Work Australia Guidelines to ensure compliance and foster a safe working environment. Book in your Asbestos Medical Surveillance today by contacting our medical reception nationally on 1300 880 804, simply CLICK HERE to get in touch with our team, or fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page, and we will assist you promptly.

The Importance of Asbestos Medical Surveillance

Asbestos medical surveillance plays a crucial role in identifying early signs of asbestos-related diseases among workers who may have been exposed to asbestos fibers. It involves regular health monitoring and assessments to detect any abnormalities that may indicate asbestos-related health issues. Early detection through medical surveillance allows for timely intervention and treatment, ultimately improving health outcomes and quality of life for affected individuals.

We work in accordance with state legislation

Safe Work Australia Guidelines

How often should health monitoring be done?

Health monitoring should also be provided to workers at regular intervals (at least once every two years) after the worker commences asbestos-related work where there is a risk of exposure to asbestos.

Our asbestos medical surveillance program is aligned with the Safe Work Australia Guidelines, which provide comprehensive recommendations for managing asbestos-related risks in the workplace. These guidelines outline the responsibilities of employers and workers, risk assessment and management strategies, and measures to protect workers from asbestos exposure.

Key Components of Asbestos Medical Surveillance

  1. Pre-Employment Health Assessments: Before commencing work in environments with potential asbestos exposure, employees undergo pre-employment health assessments to establish baseline health status and identify any pre-existing conditions that may affect their ability to work safely.
  2. Periodic Medical Examinations: Regular medical examinations are conducted at specified intervals to monitor workers’ health status and detect any changes or abnormalities that may indicate asbestos-related diseases. These examinations may include lung function tests, chest X-rays, and other diagnostic tests as recommended by healthcare professionals.
  3. Health Monitoring and Record-Keeping: Comprehensive health monitoring records are maintained for each employee participating in the asbestos medical surveillance program. These records include results of medical examinations, diagnostic tests, and any relevant health information, ensuring continuity of care and facilitating timely interventions when necessary.
  4. Education and Training: We prioritise education and training initiatives to raise awareness among employees about the risks of asbestos exposure and the importance of adhering to safety protocols. Training programs cover topics such as asbestos awareness, proper handling and disposal procedures, and personal protective equipment (PPE) usage.

Our Commitment to Health and Safety

At Employees Health we are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our employees by implementing robust asbestos management practices and medical surveillance programs. By adhering to Safe Work Australia Guidelines and prioritising proactive measures, we strive to minimise the risks associated with asbestos exposure and create a safe working environment for all.

Contact Us

For more information about our asbestos medical surveillance program or to discuss your specific needs, please contact us at Employees Health. Our team of experts is here to support you in safeguarding the health and well-being of your workforce.

Understanding Asbestos and Its Risks

Exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to serious health conditions. Asbestos-related diseases often have a long latency period, with symptoms manifesting years or even decades after initial exposure.

Target Organ



·         Pleural plaques

·         Pleural fibrosis

·         Rounded atelectasis

·         Asbestosis

·         Lung cancer

·         Mesothelioma

Understanding Diseases and Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos, once widely used for its heat resistance and durability, poses significant health risks to individuals exposed to its fibers. Over time, asbestos exposure can lead to various diseases, each with its own set of symptoms and complications. At Employees Health, we aim to provide comprehensive information on the diseases and symptoms associated with asbestos exposure to promote awareness and early detection among those at risk.

  1. Pleural Plaques:
    • Pleural plaques are a common indicator of asbestos exposure, often appearing on high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) imaging.
    • These plaques typically manifest after a latency period of 20 years or more following airborne asbestos exposure.
  2. Benign Asbestos Pleural Effusion:
    • This condition involves exudative pleural effusion, which may resolve spontaneously but can progress to pleural fibrosis over time.
  3. Progressive Pleural Fibrosis (Diffuse Pleural Thickening):
    • Recognizable by pleural thickening visible on radiographs and HRCT scans, this condition can lead to impaired lung function, particularly reduced lung volumes.
  4. Transpulmonary Bands (Crow’s Feet):
    • Crow’s feet, visible on computed tomography (CT) scans, are extensions of subpleural fibrosis along bronchovascular sheaths.
  5. Rounded Atelectasis:
    • The most common benign mass resulting from asbestos exposure, typically occurring in the subpleural, posterior, or basal regions of the lower lobes.
  6. Asbestosis:
    • Asbestosis is characterized by diffuse interstitial pulmonary fibrosis following asbestos exposure, often presenting with crackles on auscultation and restrictive changes in lung function.
  7. Malignant Mesothelioma:
    • This aggressive cancer has a strong association with asbestos exposure, often appearing after a latency period of 10 to 50 years.
    • Mesothelioma is locally invasive and has a mean survival of approximately 17.6 months from the onset of symptoms.
  8. Lung Cancer:
    • Asbestos exposure increases the risk of lung cancer, with relative frequencies of large and small cell varieties similar to those seen in smokers.
    • The effects of tobacco smoking and asbestos exposure are synergistic, with an average latency period of 20 to 30 years.

Carcinogenicity and GHS Classification:

  • Asbestos has been classified as a Category 1A carcinogen, indicating its ability to cause cancer in humans.
  • It is also classified under specific target organ toxicity (repeated exposure) Category 1 due to its potential to cause organ damage through prolonged or repeated exposure.


Conclusion: Understanding the diseases and symptoms associated with asbestos exposure is crucial for early detection and intervention. By raising awareness and adhering to safety protocols, we can minimize the risks associated with asbestos exposure and improve outcomes for those affected by these debilitating conditions.

Source Documents

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (2001); Toxicological profile for Asbestos.

Australian Bureau of Statistics at

Chemical analysis branch handbook, 9th Edition, Workplace and biological monitoring exposure analysis, WorkCover NSW (PDF 3.39MB).

De Klerk, N., Henderson, D., Jones, M, Leigh, J, Musk, A.W., Shilkin, K. and Williams, V. (2002) The diagnosis and attribution of asbestos-related diseases in an Australian context, Adelaide Workshop on Asbestos-Related Diseases, J Occup Health Safety – Aust NZ, 18(5): 443-452.

National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (1999); Chrysotile Asbestos; Priority Existing Chemical No. 9; Full Public Report.

Safe Work Australia (2013); Workplace Exposure Standards for Airborne Contaminants 

Safe Work Australia; Hazardous Chemicals Information System