Lead exposure can have serious and long-term health effects. In children, it can cause developmental delays and anemia. In adults, it can cause high blood pressure, infertility, joint and muscle pain, and a miscarriage or stillbirth in pregnant women who are exposed to the element. Despite these risks, lead can still be found in many consumer products. Manufacturers have decreased their use of lead in paint, construction materials, and consumer products in recent decades, but individuals living and working in older buildings and those in certain occupations are at risk of lead exposure through older materials.
Workers at the Greatest Risk for Lead Exposure
Workers that are most frequently exposed to lead in their workplaces include:
Metal production workers
Radio repair workers
Any employee can be exposed to lead, though. Lead paint and piping can be found in offices and school buildings, putting all users of those buildings at risk of lead exposure. Workers who are concerned about potential lead exposure in their workplaces should seek to determine the lead levels present in their workspaces and take steps to reduce this level. Even lead levels at or below OSHA’s permissible exposure limit can be harmful.
Workers who are at risk for lead exposure are advised to change out of their work clothes as soon as they finish their shifts and shower before changing into casual clothing. When washing their work clothing before leaving the workplace is not possible, workers should tie them in plastic bags to avoid tracking lead dust into their homes.
OSHA’s Requirements for Reducing Lead Exposure in the Workplace
To keep workers safe by reducing the toxic exposure they face in the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has requirements in place that employers must follow. These include:
Provide workers with clothing to wear during shifts that involve exposure to lead
Providing workers with a changing area where they can remove their work clothes, eliminating cross contamination between work clothing that can contain lead particles and casual clothing
Provide workers with protective equipment beyond clothing to reduce their lead exposure levels at work
Provide workers with shower areas to shower after shifts and wash lead particles from their bodies
Establish control levels for lead dust and fumes in the workplace
Inform all workers of the lead exposure risks in their positions and provide training to reduce these risks when necessary
Lead safety should be a frequent topic of conversation in any workplace where lead may be present. Workers who feel their employers do not meet the requirements listed above should file safety reports with OSHA to have their workplaces investigated. No worker should have to put their health at risk for a job.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross Help Those Affected by Work-Related Lead ExposureIndividuals who suffer illnesses from workplace lead exposure can file Workers’ Compensation claims to receive compensation for their medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages. To learn more, complete our online contact form or call 267-589-0090 or 215-512-1500 to schedule your initial consultation with a seasoned Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross. Our office is located in Philadelphia and we proudly serve clients throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.