Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Jay Wolfson


Occupational health surveillance programs are designed to evaluate and reduce injury, illness, and deaths related to workplace hazards. In the state of Florida, there are numerous industries where workers are potentially exposed to airborne hazards from gases, vapors and dusts. Airborne occupational exposures to irritants, vesicants, and fibrogens have the potential to cause pulmonary function impairment if exposures are not properly controlled for high-level acute exposure as well as chronic exposure. For occupations that demand workers be exposed to substances known to be associated with pulmonary function impairment, respirators may be a principal method for exposure

control. OSHA requires pulmonary function testing for specific substances and it is a best practice that is utilized in a majority of occupational settings and is typically included in an organizations respiratory protection program. A literature review identified that boat manufacturing, utilities, and first responders in the State of Florida have the potential for increased pulmonary impairment amongst workers. This research demonstrated the feasibility of using pulmonary function data collected for the purposes of compliance and/or best practices for workers who use respiratory protection because they are potentially exposed to pulmonary toxicants in the workplace. This research did not identify any pulmonary function deficits in the target occupational populations and it demonstrated that in most cases, the study populations had modestly superior pulmonary function compared to a baseline population.