HazMat and HAZWOPER Physicals

Person spraying chemicals qualified for hazmat physical

What is a HazMat Physical?

HazMat stands for Hazardous Materials. A HazMat physical is required by OSHA for workers who are exposed to hazardous chemicals or other materials that may cause health problems. These medical surveillance exams must be completed annually (unless stated by physician or if there is a health concern) to ensure that there have been no changes in health that would indicate dangerous exposure to hazardous materials.

    What does a HazMat physical consist of?

    A HazMat physical is similar to other medical surveillance exams. The physician will review the patient’s medical and work history, paying special attention to any prior exposure to hazardous materials. The physician will also review the employer’s notes that detail the patient’s job description and level of exposure to hazardous materials.

    During a HazMat physical, the patient will undergo a regular physical exam. The HazMat physical also requires:

    • Blood and urine samples to check for signs of exposure
    • Auditory test
    • Spirometry test (checks lung function)
    • Chest x-rays
    • An EKG (checks heart function)
    • Test for Hepatitis B (plus the vaccination)
      Radioactive container relative for hazwoper physicals

      What is a HAZWOPER physical?

      HAZWOPER stands for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response. A HAZWOPER physical is required for employees who:

      • Are exposed to hazardous substances or health hazards above the permissible exposure levels (PELs) set by OSHA,
      • Wear a respirator for 30 days or more a year,
      • Become sick from possible overexposure, or
      • Work on a HAZMAT team

      The HAZWOPER physical must be completed before the employee starts their assignment, after they complete their assignment, and annually throughout the assignment unless the physician states a need for more frequent physicals.

        What does a HAZWOPER physical consist of?

        A HAZWOPER physical is like most medical surveillance exams, with special attention on how potential overexposure is impacting different parts of the body. The testing physician will review work and medical history, then perform a respirator evaluation if the employee is required to wear a respirator on the job. The HAZWOPER physical will also assess any abnormalities in function, agility, and strength as appropriate to the role’s demand.

        It’s also recommended that patients receive the following diagnostics for their HAZWOPER physical:

        • Vision screening
        • Spirometry (checks lung function)
        • Audiometry
        • Liver function tests
        • Complete blood count
        • Urinalysis