Blood Pressure Monitoring

What does a blood pressure reading look like? A blood pressure reading has two numbers, a top number and a bottom number.

  • Systolic blood pressure – this is the top or first number and is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when the heart beats, forcing blood around the body.
  • Diastolic blood pressure – this is the bottom or second number and is the lower level the blood pressure reaches as the heart relaxes between beats.

What does the blood pressure reading mean?

Use the blood pressure chart to work out what your blood pressure means.  Find the top number on the left side of the chart and read across to the bottom number at the bottom of the chart.  Where the two numbers meet on the chart is your blood pressure range.

  • 90/60mmHG or lower – you may have low blood pressure.  This is not normally a problem but sometimes it can cause dizziness or fainting.  If this is the case, please contact your GP to discuss this further.
  • 90/60 – 120/80 – ideal or normal blood pressure – this is a healthy blood pressure and at this level there is a lower risk of heart disease or stroke.  Following a healthy lifestyle will help you keep it within the healthy range.
  • 140/ 90 mmHg or over – you may have high blood pressure (hypertension).  High blood pressure is sometimes called the “silent killer” because it rarely causes symptoms and can cause a heart attack or stroke if not treated. You are advised to contact your GP to discuss this further.
Further information on hypertensions is available from the British Heart Foundation website. Patient information on lifestyle options and choice of medication for the treatment of high blood pressure is available from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence website.
blood pressure chart

Health Surveillance is required if:

  • Work is known to damage health in some particular way and it is reasonably likely that damage to health may occur under the particular conditions at work.
  • There have been previous cases of work-related ill health in the workforce/place.
  • There is a reliance on PPE e.g. gloves or face masks as an exposure control measure.

The need for health surveillance should be identified by your risk assessment process.

Examples of where health surveillance is appropriate under the criteria in COSHH Regulation 11(2)(b) are:

  • Where there have been previous cases of work-related ill health in the workforce/place;
  • Where there is a reliance on PPE, e.g. gloves or respirators, as an exposure control measure; e.g. printers wearing gloves to protect against solvents used during press cleaning, or paint sprayers using two-pack paints wearing respirators to prevent asthma. Even with the closest supervision there is no guarantee PPE will be effective at all times;
  • Where there is evidence of ill health in jobs within the industry; e.g. frequent or prolonged contact with water (termed wet-working) causing dermatitis in hairdressers and healthcare workers, or breathing in mists from chrome plating baths causing chrome ulcers in platers.’
  • We strongly recommend avoiding blanket screening for all employees as it can provide misleading management results and waste money that could be spent on improving controls.

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“We have been a client of Peritus’ since 2005. We find them to be an excellent Occupational Health service, especially in how well they know our business and job roles in order to be able to give us the best advice and recommendations for our colleagues.”

HR Business Partner, Manufacturing Company, Bradford

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