Construction workers face a real danger of lead exposure in many aspects of their work. Painters, demolition workers, welders, and laborers working near lead paint are at highest risk, but many employees performing other jobs are also exposed to lead. If lead gets into a worker’s system, he can suffer permanent damage like brain damage, kidney damage, seizures, or death. Their families are also in danger—especially their young children—if workers bring lead home on their clothes or skin. Sadly, much of the risk employees face could be avoided if employers implemented proper safety measures.
What Responsibilities Do Employers Have to Reduce Lead Exposure on the Job Site?
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) implemented safety requirements that employers must follow to help reduce construction workers’ contact with toxic lead. Employers must implement a worker protection program that includes these minimum requirements:
- Make a hazard determination, including an exposure assessment
- Use safe work practices and engineering controls to protect workers from lead
- Have job-specific compliance programs
- Inspect work areas for lead and test the air for it as well
- Provide workers with proper, federally-approved respirators and protective clothing
- Provide hand-washing stations and showers and have workers use them regularly
- Have clean areas for workers to take breaks, eat, and change their clothing
- Train workers in the dangers of lead exposure that they face and how to reduce their exposure
- Have signs in the workplace educating employees about lead dangers
- Provide medical monitoring which includes regular lead blood tests
- Provide medical exams to any worker whose blood lead level is 40 mcg/dL or higher, has lead exposure symptoms, or has reproduction concerns.
- Remove workers from jobs where they are exposed to lead if their blood lead level is 50 mcg/dL or higher.
- Utilize a recordkeeping system to document any employee exposure to lead, medical monitoring of these workers, and removal of these workers from lead exposure when necessary
Were you exposed to lead at your construction job? If you have become ill due to this exposure, you may have a claim for compensation against your employer. Fill out our online form or start an online chat to schedule a free appointment with our experienced legal team to learn about your legal options.