Lead is a cumulative and persistent toxic substance that poses a serious health risk. A rigorous housekeeping program and the observance of basic personal hygiene practices will minimize employee exposure to lead. In addition, these two elements of the worker protection program help prevent workers from taking lead- contaminated dust out of the worksite and into their homes where it can extend the workers’ exposures and potentially affect their families’ health.
Below are some examples of administrative and work practice controls.
Change areas. The employer must provide a clean change area for employees whose airborne exposure to lead is above the PEL.
The area must be equipped with storage facilities for street clothes and a separate area with facilities for the removal and storage of lead-contaminated protective work clothing and equipment. This separation prevents cross-contamination of the employee’s street and work clothing.
Employees must use a clean change area for taking off street clothes, suiting up in clean protective work clothing, donning respirators before beginning work, and dressing in street clothes after work. No lead-contaminated items should enter this area.
Work clothing must not be worn away from the jobsite. Under no circumstances should lead-contaminated work clothes be laundered at home or taken from the worksite, except to be laundered professionally or for disposal following applicable federal, state, and local regulations.
Showers. When feasible, showers must be provided for use by employees whose airborne exposure to lead is above the permissible exposure limit so they can shower before leaving the worksite.
Where showers are provided, employees must change out of their work clothes and shower before changing into their street clothes and leaving the worksite.
If employees do not change into clean clothing before leaving the worksite, they may contaminate their homes and automobiles with lead dust, extending their exposure and exposing other members of their household to lead.
Washing facilities. In addition, employers must provide adequate washing facilities for their workers.
These facilities must be close to the worksite and furnished with water, soap, and clean towels so employees can remove lead contamination from their skin.
Contaminated water from washing facilities and showers must be disposed of in accordance with applicable local, state, or federal regulations.