Safety Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 2: General Workplace Safety

Employee Medical Surveillance

SPPM 2.45

For more information contact:
   Environmental Health and Safety


The purpose of the policy and procedures in this section is to monitor the health of University employees. Medical surveillance is required for employees who work with regulated hazardous materials or under regulated hazardous work conditions. Employees receive medical surveillance before the start of applicable hazardous work and periodically thereafter when such work is conducted.

Exposure Monitoring (Radiation)

Employees who work with radiation sources may require exposure monitoring. See SPPM 9.30 regarding the University’s radiation exposure monitoring program.


Department Chair / Director

The department chair or director is responsible for providing appropriate resources and support for WSU employees who participate in activities with medical surveillance and exposure monitoring requirements or recommendations. See Exposures That May Require Medical Surveillance for a list of such activities.

See the supporting departmental contacts under Departments for Information and Referral Assistance for medical surveillance information and referrals.


The employing department pays the charges for medical surveillance examinations, tests, and consultations. Such services are provided without cost to the employee.

Principal Investigator / Supervisor / Instructor

The principal investigator, supervisor, and/or instructor is responsible for:

  • Reviewing all potential threats under Exposures That May Require Medical Surveillance regarding medical surveillance and/or exposure monitoring for various types of exposures to determine if unit employees meet the criteria that either require or recommend medical surveillance or exposure monitoring.
  • Contacting the appropriate department chair or director and assisting in meeting unit employees’ medical surveillance needs.


The employee is responsible for participating in applicable medical surveillance and/or exposure monitoring programs or completing the appropriate paperwork to decline participation, if available.

Departments for Information and Referral Assistance

The following departments provide assistance with information and referrals to meet the medical surveillance and exposure monitoring needs of WSU employees:

Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)

Environmental Health and Safety provides assistance with medical surveillance related to chemical exposure, respirator use, and noise exposure.

An EH&S department is located at each of the WSU Pullman, WSU Spokane, WSU Tri-Cities, and WSU Vancouver campuses. Pullman EH&S also provides services for the WSU research and extension units.

For EH&S Services at:

  • WSU Pullman and WSU Research and Extension units; telephone 509-335-3041.
  • WSU Spokane; telephone 509-358-7621.
  • WSU Tri-Cities; telephone 509-372-7163.
  • WSU Vancouver; telephone 360-546-9706.
Office of Research Assurances (ORA)

The Office of Research Assurances provides assistance with medical surveillance related to biosafety or animals.

WSU Spokane

At WSU Spokane, the campus offices of EH&S, the Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Research, and the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy collaborate to provide assistance with medical surveillance related to biosafety or animals.

Radiation Safety Office (RSO)

The Radiation Safety Office maintains an exposure monitoring program for individuals whose work involves radiation sources.

Exposures That May Require Medical Surveillance

Various activities at WSU may result in exposures to hazardous materials or work conditions. Medical surveillance is required or recommended for the following types of exposures. Departments are to contact the indicated University department for assistance.

Animal Contact

Employees who have contact with animals may require medical surveillance.

Contact ORA for medical surveillance requirements and assistance; telephone 509-335-9553.


Certified asbestos workers, or supervisors or employees who are exposed to asbestos at or above the permissible exposure limits require medical surveillance. (See SPPM 5.22.)

Contact the applicable EH&S office for assistance. (See Environmental Health and Safety above.)


Employees who work with or are exposed to biohazard agents (i.e., materials capable of self-replication and producing harmful effects upon other biological organisms) require medical surveillance (see SPPM 4.20).

Contact ORA for assistance; telephone 509-335-9553.

Bloodborne Pathogens

Employees who are potentially exposed to human blood and/or other potentially infectious materials that may contain bloodborne pathogens must review the site-specific Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan regarding medical surveillance requirements (see SPPM 2.44).

The term “other potentially infectious materials” includes, but is not limited to, cerebrospinal fluid, peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva, semen, vaginal secretions, and any other body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood. Bloodborne pathogens include, but are not limited to, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV).

Contact the applicable EH&S office for assistance. (See Environmental Health and Safety above.)

Chemical Exposure

Employees who are exposed to hazardous chemicals may require medical surveillance under the following conditions:

  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals at or above established exposure limits or exposure monitoring reveals an overexposure. Hazardous chemicals include, but are not limited to, toxic substances, corrosives, carcinogens, and reproductive toxins.
  • When employees experience signs or symptoms associated with an exposure to a hazardous chemical. Refer to the chemical’s safety data sheet (see SPPM 5.10).
  • When employees are present when a nonroutine event (e.g., spill) results in the likelihood of an overexposure.

Contact the applicable EH&S office for assistance.(See Environmental Health and Safety above.)


Employees exposed or potentially exposed to lead or lead-containing materials must be monitored for lead exposure. Lead exposures exceeding action levels may require biological monitoring. (See SPPM 5.25.)

Contact the applicable EH&S office for assistance. (See Environmental Health and Safety above.)

Noise Exposure

Employees exposed to noise hazards require medical surveillance. Noise hazards are defined as an eight-hour average exposure of 85 decibels or greater, noise of 115 decibels and greater, or impact noise of 140 decibels and greater.

Employees exposed to noise hazards may be required to participate in the hearing conservation program (see SPPM 3.21).

Contact the applicable EH&S office for noise exposure evaluations (noise dosimetry). (See Environmental Health and Safety above.)


Medical surveillance is required if employees work with category I or II organophosphate or N-methyl carbamate, as defined by Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 296-307-148.

If employees have concerns regarding mixing, loading, or applying other pesticides, and maintaining application equipment, EH&S personnel conduct workplace reviews to determine if medical surveillance is required.

Contact the applicable EH&S office for assistance. (See Environmental Health and Safety above.)

Respiratory Hazards

Employees are required to have medical surveillance if:

  • Employees are exposed to dusts, mists, vapors, or fumes.
  • Employees’ duties require the use of respirators (e.g., N-95 [disposable particulate-filtering face mask], half-mask, full face, PAPR [powered air purifying respirator], or a SCBA [self-contained breathing apparatus]).

Contact the applicable EH&S office for assistance. (See Environmental Health and Safety above.)


Medical surveillance is available for employees whose work requires a fitness for duty examination.

Emergency Responders

Contact the applicable EH&S office for assistance. (See Environmental Health and Safety above.)

Exposures Which May Require Exposure Monitoring

Radiation exposure monitoring may be required for individuals who are considered to be at risk to receive ten percent of the federally-allowable annual radiation exposure from work at the University with radiation sources.

See SPPM 9.30 for further information regarding the exposure monitoring program or contact the Radiation Safety Office (RSO); telephone 509-335-8916.

See SPPM 2.24 for accident reporting requirements applying to suspected or documented exposures to:

  • Biohazards
  • Bloodborne pathogens
  • Asbestos, lead or chemical exposures exceeding permissible exposure levels

Revisions:  Sept. 2016 – new policy (Rev. 108).