Why spirometry is crucial to improve occupational health
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) impacts the lives of an estimated 26 million people in the United States alone. It was reported in the Global Burden of Disease Study that 251 million cases of COPD existed globally as of 2016.
While a larger percentage of COPD diagnosis is correlated with smoking cigarettes and tobacco products, multiple studies show that up to 15 percent of the total burden of COPD is due to workplace exposure.
Introduction: Occupational health
Occupational health is a field of study that is comprised of multiple disciplines aimed at improving the safety and well-being of employees in their workplace. The primary focus of occupational healthcare is to provide resources, education, and health-based screening or services that focus on preventing injury or the onset of medical conditions or diseases.
Many industries produce vapor, gases, fumes, dust, and other irritants that can progressively cause damage to the respiratory system. Manufacturing, coal mining, HVAC, logistics, and transportation industries are some that pose a risk of developing lung diseases, ranging from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) to COPD.
When any industry, corporation, or company uses spirometry as a proactive occupational health tool to monitor respiratory function, not only does it place a focus on employee's well-being, but it can also serve to discover root issues causing these conditions.
The primary role of spirometry in occupational health is to identify workers who should have secondary testing or examinations by a pulmonary medical professional. In some regions and industries, spirometry is mandated due to regulatory compliance and the exposures to the workforce.
Nonetheless, spirometry is often considered a troublesome or frustrating process, not only by those conducting the testing, but by the workers who complete the exams.
How does occupational health benefit from spirometry?
Occupational health spirometry testing is an exceptional, noninvasive, and highly effective method of monitoring the lung capacity and wellness of employees. However, outdated technology built into older spirometers, and the bulkiness, constant calibration, and fragility of these devices represent a significant hurdle for employee testing.
Multiple industries pose a larger risk to employees for developing respiratory disease. Some of the most common include, but are not limited to:
Nearly every manufacturing facility is designed for optimal efficiency – not improved ventilation. Whether it’s designing textiles, automotive chemicals, aftermarket or OEM mechanical components, or consumer goods, working in a manufacturing facility poses significant risks to workers, managers, and even frequent visitors.
Most manufacturing warehouses are enclosed, with many having reduced open-air ventilation due to guidelines used in the creation of these goods. Warehouse HVAC systems are also not designed for efficient airflow – which increases the potential of poor indoor air quality.
Coal Mining & Oil / Gas Exploration
The production and sourcing of fossil fuels is another industry that poses a significant risk for those working in these industries.
Coal mining specifically is completely below ground – with workers spending hours in low ventilated areas. Not only does coal mining generate a tremendous amount of dust, debris, and toxins, but the equipment used is primarily diesel-powered. These emissions in a non-ventilated area can be highly damaging to the respiratory system. The Easy One Air is one of the few NIOSH-approved for the Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP).
Hairdressers & Cosmetology
According to Paul Mitchell Products founder, John Paul DeJoria, there has been an increased focus on developing non-toxic chemical products for hairdressers and those who serve the cosmetology industries. While several larger hairstylist chains are actively reducing their dependence on aerosol sprays, the lack of proper ventilation also poses a risk to stylists.
The Casino Industry
An estimated 3/5th of U.S. States offer legalized gambling through pari-mutuel wagering or casino operations. In most of these indoor facilities, smoking is not only legal, it’s actively promoted. Those working in casinos – from dealers, cashiers, cocktail servers, and bartenders, to hotel staff and maintenance employees-- are at a higher risk of developing COPD and other lung diseases due to exposure to second-hand smoke. Additionally, the ventilation systems in casinos are not known for being the highest quality.
The role of NDD Medical Technologies in occupational health lung screening
Several hurdles complicate occupational health lung screening. First is the inconsistency of the equipment used -- older spirometers often produce less-than-reliable results and may not meet current NIOSH/OSHA standards. Second, most spirometers are bulky, hard to use, and have difficult to read and navigate screens. The third challenge is a lack of portability and the constant need to calibrate the system after each test.
NDD Medical Technologies’ EasyOne® Air - a portable, hand-held spirometer is a solution that bypasses each of these issues. Using TrueFlow™ ultrasound technology, this easy to use, patient-centric, portable, and lightweight spirometer doesn’t require calibration and provides reliable results in a matter of seconds.
The screen is easy to read, controls are simple to navigate, and the Swiss precision manufacturing and high-quality components ensure a lifetime of worry-free operation.
NDD Medical Technologies’ portable and lightweight spirometers can be used indoors, outdoors, in an office environment, or at remote locations to provide baseline lung function tests. Results are consistent, robust, and generated in a matter of seconds.
Advantages of EasyOne Air for occupational health applications
There are several competitive advantages of using the EasyOne Air for occupational health applications:
- Real-Time Curves - Our easy to navigate and brilliantly-lit screen displays real-time curves for quicker and accurate results.
- Single-patient use mouthpiece - NDD EasyOne Flow Tubes are disposable mouthpieces for the NDD EasyOne Air spirometer. They're for single-patient, single-session use only and packaged 50 to a box.
- Connects with Leading Occupational Health Software - We’ve designed EasyOne Air software that is compatible with multiple EMR EHR occupation health software applications.
- Lightweight and Portable - The EasyOne Air weights less than a pound, is hand-held, and can be used indoors or outside.
- Up to 100 Remote Tests - The EasyOne Air spirometer uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. An empty battery can be fully charged in about 5 hours. A fully-charged battery can support the performance of approximately 100 spirometry test sessions.
Protection Against Infection Control
The onset and spread of COVID-19 have significantly disrupted occupational health lung function testing – mainly due to concerns about reduced infection control. NDD inline filter solutions are designed to provide additional COVID-19 protection for industries or organizations looking to include filtration when performing tests.
- The filter keeps the ambient environment clean for both patients and technicians.
- All parts that are exposed to the patient’s breath are single-patient use.
- There is no sensor contamination possible.
- Humidity is unable to enter the device.
- The EasyOne Air single-patient use FlowTubes and adapters require no special storage conditions.
Visit our COVID-19 Infection Control page for more information.
While many proactive businesses are actively exploring ways to reduce exposure to harmful toxins and improve indoor air quality, risk factors in the workplace remain. The need to complete on-site spirometry as a part of proactive occupational health procedures is crucial to reducing the development of respiratory diseases.
The EasyOne Air makes this task easier, more efficient, and saves your organization valuable time. This user-friendly portable spirometer can be used in the warehouse, an employee breakroom, or even outdoors during health fairs.
Results can be quickly uploaded to your occupational health software, with individual patient testing results protected and highly secure.
If you’d like to learn more about the EasyOne Air portable spirometer for use in occupational health, click the link below.