Main Industries and Occupations at Risk
- Tunnelling or shaft sinking operations in water bearing strata;
- Caisson work on river beds;
- Medical lock attendants;
- Healthcare staff who oversee medical treatments conducted in hyperbaric chambers;
- Checking for leaks within pressurised compartments.
- Compressed Air Illness (CAI) otherwise called Decompression Sickness:
- Acute: Type I: mild form, onset at any time from final stages of decompression to 12 or even 36 hours after decompression; “bends” (limb pains), skin mottling. Type II: more severe form; onset usually early (within 45 minutes of decompression) neurological, respiratory, cardiac or gastrointestinal involvement
- Chronic dysbaric osteonecrosis; usually involving shoulder, hip or knee; may be asymptomatic. Lesions may be in the head, neck or shaft or femur. Disability with persistent joint pain and stiff ness is likely only if the articular surfaces are aff ected. Condition may develop months or even years later.
- Pulmonary (may be complicated by pneumothorax, cerebral air-gas embolism, surgical emphysema)
- Aural (sensorineural hearing loss in inner ear barotrauma, conductive loss in perforated/damaged tympani);
- Others such as dental, face mask and suit barotraumas.
- Toxicity from toxic environments or contaminated breathing gases such as carbon monoxide, resulting in acute or chronic health effects.
- Hypoxia from lack of oxygen in breathing gas or work environment.
The medical examination should preferably be conducted by a DWD who has undergone further training and is familiar with Hyperbaric/Diving Medicine. These doctors would be registered with MOM under the DWD (CAW) Register.
Minimum age for a compressed air worker is 18 years. There is no upper age limit provided the worker is able to satisfy the medical standards.
Any work environment in which workers are exposed to pressure greater than normal atmospheric pressure.
Types of Tests and Frequency of Examinations Pre-placement medical examinations are to be conducted within 30 days before employment.