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Lead is dangerous for your workers: Here’s what you can do

On Behalf of | May 8, 2024 | Environmental Law

Lead is commonly used for its flexibility and rust resistance. This widespread use means some industries face a higher risk of lead exposure. That includes manufacturing and construction, where workers might handle lead-acid batteries or conduct activities that disturb lead-based materials.

Although useful, lead is highly toxic to workers. Constant exposure can disrupt the body’s functions, speed up aging and cause severe health issues. These effects might be subtle at first, but over time, they can harm the brain, heart, kidneys and other systems.

Companies in these high-risk industries need to understand this and take steps to keep their employees safe and their worksite eco-friendly.

Keep lead levels at a minimal rate

Recent regulations in California aim to keep blood lead levels below ten micrograms per deciliter. It’s a huge reduction from previous limits. This change reflects a growing understanding of how even a little bit of lead exposure can be harmful. That said, it’s really important to improve safety protocols against lead and take steps to maintain a safe working environment. Here’s how:

  • Improve worksite ventilation to reduce lead in the air.
  • Provide workers with protective gear to stop skin contact with lead.
  • Initiate lead safety training.
  • Regularly test workers’ blood for lead.

In the event that a worker’s blood lead level does get too high, they must take a break from working in lead-exposed areas. However, they should not lose their benefits during this break. These workers are just doing their job, and being exposed to toxic lead should not cost them their pay or benefits. So, not only should employers provide medical tests and support their recovery, but they should also maintain their pay and other employment rights.

Protection from liability

A lead-exposed workforce is a vulnerable workforce. Business owners need to know this and take steps to protect their workers. Their actions will not only ensure the health and safety of employees, but also protect the company from potential legal and financial liabilities. A legal professional can help ensure compliance with these and other health and safety regulations.