Exposure Monitoring

The lead standard requires that employers monitor their employees to determine their personal exposure to airborne lead. The monitoring must be done for the full work shift of at least 7 continuous hours. It must be done for every shift in which employees were exposed to lead and an evaluation of the data must assume that employees were not wearing respirators. When personal exposures are below the action level (30 μg/m3), the result must be documented in writing, and no additional monitoring is required. When personal exposures exceed the action level but are below the PEL, additional personal monitoring is required every 6 months until two consecutive measurements, collected at least 7 days apart, are below the action level. For personal monitoring results above the PEL, additional monitoring must be done quarterly. The sampling frequency can be reduced to every 6 months only when two consecutive measurements, collected at least 7 days apart, are below the PEL (29 CFR 1910.1025(d)).

Engineering and Work-Practice Controls

Engineering and work-practice controls must be implemented whenever employees are exposed above the PEL for more than 30 days per year. The controls include the requirement for a written compliance program to reduce personal exposures to below the PEL. If engineering and work-practice controls do not reduce exposures to below the PEL, respirators must be worn. If mechanical ventilation is used to control exposures, the ventilation system must be evaluated quarterly for its effectiveness in controlling exposures (29 CFR 1910.1025(e)).

Respirator Protection and Personal Protective Equipment

When respirators are required, a respiratory-protection program must be implemented in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.134. The respirators can be half-mask, full-facepiece, or powered air-purifying respirators. High-efficiency particulate air-equivalent (HEPA-equivalent) filters are required (29 CFR 1910.1025(f)).

Personal protective equipment must be provided at no cost to employees when exposures exceed the PEL. The equipment may include face shields, vented goggles, and disposable shoe coverlets. The employer is responsible for cleaning or disposing of the equipment (29 CFR 1910.1025(g)).

Housekeeping and Hygiene Facilities and Practices

All surfaces must be kept as free as practicable of any accumulations of lead. Surfaces cannot be cleaned by using compressed air; vacuuming is the preferred method of cleaning. When vacuuming is shown not to be effective, shoveling or dry or wet sweeping may be used (29 CFR 1910.1025(h)).

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