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Confined SPaces

REQUIREMENTS FOR MEDICAL EXAMINATION
FOR PEOPLE WORKING IN CONFINED SPACES

The recommendation for 3 yearly medicals for BA users up to the age of 50 then annually thereafter appears in various places one being the "National Joint Health & Safety Committee for the Water Industry" (to which Thames Water is party) which states that

 "...it is unlikely that men, having attained the age of 50, would regard themselves as suitable for recruitment into jobs which require ... the wearing of breathing apparatus ...and it is recommended that persons already in post doing manual work whilst wearing BA should be medically examined annually from the age of 49 years (i.e. in their 50th. year) bearing in mind the nature and content of their duties".

There are similar statements in other codes of practice and this has generally been accepted as the industry standard.

If for example, an organisation’s decision to examine annually from 55 is part of a cohesive Occupational Health plan drawn up by their occupational health advisors and they are satisfied that its current operation has not revealed a significant health risk to men aged between 50 and 54 (bearing in mind the nature of their duties - e.g. they could be carrying out inspections rather than performing heavy physical work) then we can't see a major problem bearing in mind that "codes of practice" only have quasi-legal status and they can show that they are following a procedure which is sufficiently robust.

Skills Training Centre’s current practice requires medical examinations to be taken every 3 years up to 50 then annually thereafter but ultimately it would be down to a trainee's employer to prove in court that what it did was right and the final responsibility must rest with them.