Work Matters: Your Health Care Professional Can Help
Your health care provider is a key player in protecting you against harmful exposure to chemicals in the workplace. While your employer is responsible for ensuring a safe and healthy workplace, your health care provider needs to know about your job and workplace exposures to give you good care and advice.
Work History: Tell your health care professional about your work history as early as possible. Bring a list of the chemicals, and let your doctor or other health care provider know how, how often, and for how long you are exposed to them. You should also share any written information you have from your employer, such as records of chemical exposure monitoring or medical monitoring. Volunteer this information; don’t wait to be asked.
Medical Conditions: Your health care professional will determine whether you have any medical conditions that make you more sensitive to harm from chemical exposures. Pregnancy itself can make you more sensitive to harm. So can preexisting conditions or complications of pregnancy. If you have any past or present medical conditions, illnesses, or injuries that may be relevant, make sure to tell your provider.
If you have a medical condition that makes you more vulnerable to chemical exposures, you may need special equipment, a change in your duties, or another type of accommodation. For example, if you have certain complications of pregnancy, such as high blood pressure or too much weight gain, you may not be able to do work that requires you to wear a respirator. Similarly, if there is no way to avoid exposure to a chemical that can cause miscarriage, you may need to request a temporary transfer or leave from your position.
Advice and Referrals: Your health care professional can also provide valuable advice and referrals for further information and assistance. For instance, she or he can help evaluate whether the chemicals you work with may harm your health or your pregnancy. To do so, your provider may need to consult with an occupational health program or specialist or refer you directly for an evaluation.
Work Matters Resources
Click here for a list of resources to help you avoid chemical exposures in the work place.