NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - North Myrtle Beach spent nearly $50,000 in 2018 for city employees' physicals.
The city said this service is a requirement set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It applies to city employees who must wear a respirator as part of their job.
“The purpose of the physical is to make sure that employees are healthy enough to wear the respirator and that they don’t have any underlining medical issues or heart conditions or respiratory conditions that the stress of wearing and working in a respirator might worsen or cause to come out,” North Myrtle Beach safety specialist Joe Turner said.
Turner explained the physicals are more in-depth than a typical high school physical and vary depending on the individual’s age.
The city said the cost of each physical ranges from $310 to $325. Some of the staff required to receive the annual exam include firefighters and facility maintenance personnel.
“Obviously, it’s to protect the health of the employee. They come to work here, we’d like to keep them for a while, hopefully, throughout the term of their working career,” Turner said. “The best way to do that is to make sure they stay healthy.”
While it is a mandated service, city spokesperson Pat Dowling said it’s a cost the city wants to pay because it is all about the safety of the employees.
“We don’t want firefighters, people in confined spaces, people handling hazardous materials such as paints and varnishes and things like that collapsing on the job or developing health problems because we were not observant of their good health,” Dowling said.
He added it is a service the city would probably provide even without the federal requirement.
The city paid Access Medical Management in 12 payments for the physicals in 2018.
Dowling said in the future the exams will take place in the city’s new internal clinic rather than through a third party.