LEAD ON THE JOB
Monitor The Air
All areas of possible lead exposure must be monitored for a full shift to determine air lead levels. This measurement is done with a representative number of employees who probably have the highest risk of being exposed to lead. Measurement is done using personal air samplers.
The results of the initial air monitoring will determine what safety measures must be taken. The Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) is 50mg/m; (50 micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air). If the initial measurement is above 30mg/m;certain OSHA regulations become effective. Requirements may include:
- Establishment of an air monitoring program.
- Appropriate training related to lead exposure.
- Medical surveillance for workers including medical removal if needed, without loss of pay or benefits
Refer to the Standard that applies to your company for additional information.
Notify Employees of Risks
Before assigning an employee to a job that will expose him or her to lead, you must notify that employee of the risk of lead exposure. Employees should also be advised that lead particles can get into the air or onto their clothes or body. Employees can inadvertently expose their family to take home lead. Family members can become sick if workers take lead dust home on their clothes and shoes. This is particularly dangerous for children because lead can cause severe learning disabilities and illness.
Provide Medical Care for Employees Exposed to Lead
Before any employee is assigned to a lead exposed area, he or she must get a physical examination to determine current blood lead level (BLL) and zinc protoporphyrin (ZPP) levels. Employees must be notified, in writing, within 5 days of your receipt of the laboratory results. Your written notification must include a plan of corrective action if exposure is above the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL).
Workers with a BLL > 40mg/dL must be provided follow-up care and additional blood lead tests. Workers must also be informed that medical removal from a lead exposed job is required with a BLL > 50mg/dL without loss of pay or benefits. A physician can require an employee be removed at lower levels if deemed at risk. A worker who demonstrates signs of lead poisoning must be referred for medical attention as soon as possible. Employees can request and must be provided certain medical tests at no cost.
When the workplace has lead exposures at or above the PEL, employers must implement a written compliance program which must be updated every 6 months.
You must implement specific steps to reduce the risk of lead exposure in the workplace. These controls include:
1. Engineering controls must be used when possible. Properly designed and maintained mechanical ventilation may be used.
2. Respirators must be provided when engineering controls don't ensure exposures less then the PEL or upon request. If respirators are used, a respirator program must be in place at your company pursuant to the OSHA Lead Standard.
3. Protective clothing and equipment including full body work clothes must be supplied. You must cover the expense of weekly laundering.
4. Work practice controls including lead-free changing rooms, washing facilities and eating areas must be provided.
5. Administrative controls such as job rotation should be used as appropriate to ensure minimal lead exposure.
6. You must maintain records on assessment of exposure, medical surveillance and care, and any medical removal of employees.
For More Information or to Receive a Copy of the OSHA Lead Standard:
- US OSHA - Denver Office, (303) 844-1600.
- National Lead Information Center, 1-800-424-LEAD
- Wyoming Occupational Health and Safety Division, (307) 777-7710
- National Institute for Occupational. Safety and Health (NIOSH), 1-800-356-4674
Wyoming Department of Health Lead Project
6101 Yellowstone Road, Ste #510
Cheyenne, WY 82002