Toolbox Talk: Lead Exposure

| |
CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training

Summary Statement

The CPWR Toolbox Talk on Lead Exposure addresses risks associated with lead fumes and dust. The resource includes a ‘real-life’ case example, steps to prevent a related injury or illness, and questions for discussion. It includes an image (page 2) that illustrates the hazard, which can be posted in a central location as a reminder of steps to work safely.   Click on the following links to access the English version and the Spanish version. (English) (Español)

https://www.cpwr.com/publications/toolbox-talks

CPWR Toolbox Talk logoExposure to lead fumes and particles can come from many sources, including abrasive blasting, sanding, torch cutting, scraping, and loosening old paint with a propane torch. Dust and fumes can be inhaled, including by family members shaking out clothes. Lead can also get into the body by being transferred from dirty hands to food and drink. Serious damage can occur to your lungs, brain, liver and other organs. Children are particularly at risk for lead dust brought home from the job.

Here is an Example

Spiros was removing lead paint on a highway bridge job. After a few months, he went to the hospital because he was experiencing difficulty concentrating, vomiting and weight loss. The doctor diagnosed high levels of lead in his blood.

  1. What protective equipment should he have worn while working?
  2. Have you ever experienced any of the symptoms mentioned while working in a lead exposure area?
  3. If so, did you go to the doctor for a blood test to check your level of lead exposure?

Preventing Injuries from Lead Exposure

  • Never abrasive blast or torch cut painted metal structures until they are tested for lead-based paint. OSHA has a standard for lead in construction work.
  • Wash your hands and face before eating, drinking, or smoking and never eat, drink or use tobacco products in the work area.
  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when there is a lead exposure risk. You may need:
    • Coveralls or other full-body work clothing
    • Gloves
    • Disposable shoe coverlets
    • Vented goggles or face shield with protective spectacles or goggles
    • Respirator based on amount of exposure

What Are We Going to Do Today?

What will we do here at the worksite today to prevent injuries from lead exposure?

1.____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

2.____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

OSHA REGULATIONS: 1926.62

Graphic of worker sandblasting a metal structure.  The worker is wearing a respirator, face shield, coveralls, gloves and shoe coverlets.

  • Never abrasive blast or torch cut painted metal structures until they are tested for lead-based paint.
  • Wash your hands and face before eating, drinking, or smoking and never eat, drink or use tobacco products in the work area.
  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when there is a lead exposure risk.