Dangers of Lead Exposure at Workplace

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Lead is a toxic metal commonly used in paints, industrial products, batteries, pottery, makeup, etc. It can cause serious health issues, leading to permanent problems.

When lead finds its way into the workplace, whether through manufacturing processes, construction activities, or other means, it poses substantial health risks to workers. Lead exposure can lead to severe health issues and put your employees’ lives at risk.

Why Lead Exposure in the Workplace is Dangerous?

Certain workplaces are prone to lead exposure, including lead-acid battery manufacturing, paint manufacturing, and a few makeup industries. The dilemma is that not only are the workers at threat of lead exposure, but they also bring it to their homes. Their shoes and clothes can become contaminated with lead, which can easily spread into their homes. As a result, their children and other family members are infected with it. 

While lead is infectious to everyone, it can cause serious harm to pregnant women and children. It can attack brain development and lead to cognitive issues, hormonal changes, speaking problems, hand-to-mouth behavior, and badly affect children’s learning capabilities.

The Health Department in NYC recommends testing for all workers who are exposed to lead and children. Do you know NYC is at threat of exposure? Even if you are not working at a lead company, it is still advisable to regularly take blood tests to check the lead level in your body.

What Type Of Jobs Can Put Workers at Risk Of Lead Exposure?

In various industries, specific job roles carry a high risk of lead exposure for workers. Their daily tasks involve direct contact with lead-based products. Some common examples of such jobs are manufacturing & construction, welding, lead or copper foundries, sanding of old paint, paint manufacturing, etc.

These jobs do not guarantee lead exposure but involve specific tasks that increase potential risk to the workers. Implementing safety measures, proper ventilation, and the use of protective clothing and equipment can lower the risk to a great extent.

Signs & Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

You can have lead poisoning without any noticeable symptoms. In the initial stages, you feel fine. Later, the symptoms start getting visible. Lead poisoning is a serious health concern. If you notice any symptoms, seek medical help immediately.

Let’s have a look at the signs and symptoms of lead poisoning:

  • Fatigue and weakness. Being lethargic all the time and start feeling weak.
  • Abdominal pain, gastric issues, upset stomach, diarrhea.
  • Cognitive and behavioral changes, difficulty concentrating, and learning.
  • Frequent headache, joint and muscle pain.
  • Irritability and mood swings.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Developmental delays in children.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Reproductive issues, loss of fertility.

If you notice these symptoms, get yourself tested for lead poisoning. Never ignore these symptoms because it is always better to be safe than sorry.

How Can I Reduce Lead Exposure in the Workplace? 

Minimizing the risk of lead exposure in the workplace needs a proactive approach. It involves multiple preventive measures, including:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Wear PPE, including gloves, goggles, and special protective dresses that you change before going home.

Proper Ventilation: Make good ventilation to avoid lead particles from inhaling.

Hygiene Practices: Follow strict hygiene practices to prevent lead transmission from your hands to nose, mouth, and eyes.

No Eating or Drinking: Refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in areas with lead.

Regular Cleaning: Maintain regular cleaning of tools and surfaces that could be contaminated with lead.

Safe Work Practices: Adhere to safe work practices and techniques that minimize the release of lead particles. For example, wet sanding or using lead-free substitutes when possible.

Also read: The Importance of Lead Poisoning Preventions

Industry Regulations for Lead? 

OSHA (Occupational Safety Health Administration) needs employers to ensure the workplace is safe for employees at risk of lead exposure. OSHA has set up mandatory rules for every company to follow. 

Let’s have a look at key OSHA rules:

Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs): OSHA has set specific limits for workplace lead exposure. It should be followed for every company.

Compliance with Engineering Controls: OSHA mandates the implementation of engineering controls to minimize lead exposure. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Employees should wear PPE to avoid lead exposure.

Medical Surveillance: OSHA requires employers to offer medical surveillance to their workers.

Training and Information: Employers need to ensure that workers are informed and well-trained about the preventive measures, hazards of lead exposure, and emergency procedures.

Contact Manhattan Lead Inspections for Lead Testing in NYC

If you’re concerned about lead exposure and potential risks at your company, call Manhattan Lead Inspections. We are your trusted partner for comprehensive lead testing services in NYC. Our dedicated team is committed to ensuring the safety of your living and working environments by providing accurate and timely lead testing solutions. We have years of experience in lead testing and use advanced equipment to ensure accurate results. You can always rely on us for lead testing in NYC.