Dr. Laura Welch and CPWR Partnership
Medical Screening Program for Sheet Metal Workers
The Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT) was formed in 1985 by the Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning National Association to study the health hazards of the sheet metal industry. Starting in 1986, SMOHIT contracted with clinical facilities in the United States and Canada to offer a standardized asbestos disease screening program for sheet metal workers who were first employed in the industry at least 20 years earlier. Participating medical facilities and physicians are chosen by Laura Welch, MD, in consultation with the staff of SMOHIT, based on the clinic’s experience in conducting similar screening programs in the past. The physicians agree to complete standardized reporting forms, to classify the chest x-rays using the ILO classification, and to follow the American Thoracic Society standards for conducting pulmonary function testing. Work and medical history questionnaires are self-administered and subsequently reviewed by the clinic staff. Results of the examinations are given to the individuals with a standardized notification letter, and also are discussed in a meeting held with all participants after the examinations.