When are you most at risk?

Work processes

When you work in industrial processes which create lead dust, fume or vapour. These include:

  • blast removal and burning of old lead paint
  • stripping of old lead paint from doors, windows etc
  • hot cutting in demolition and dismantling operations
  • recovering lead from scrap and waste
  • lead smelting, refining, alloying and casting
  • lead-acid battery manufacture and breaking and recycling
  • manufacturing lead compounds
  • manufacturing leaded-glass
  • manufacturing and using pigments, colours and ceramic glazes
  • working with metallic lead and alloys containing lead, for example soldering
  • some painting of buildings
  • some spraying of vehicles
  • recycling of televisions or computer monitors which contain Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT's)

Your body absorbs lead when you:

  • breathe in lead dust fume or vapour
  • swallow any lead for example if you eat, drink, smoke or bite you nails without washing your hands and face.

What you should do to protect your health

  • make sure you have all of the information and training you need to work safely with lead
  • use all of the equipment provided by your employer and follow the instructions for use
  • make sure all protective equipment fits correctly and is in good condition
  • keep your immediate work area clean and tidy
  • clear up and get rid of any lead waste at the end of the day
  • do not take home any protective clothing or footwear for washing or cleaning
  • wear any necessary protective equipment or clothing and return it to the proper place provided by your employer
  • report any damaged or defective equipment to your employer
  • only eat and drink in designated areas that are free from lead contamination
  • keep any medical appointments with the doctor where you work
  • practice a high standard of personal hygiene:
    • wash your hands and face and scrub your nails before eating
    • wash and/or shower before you go home

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Updated: 2023-04-27