Education Needed to Prevent Work Site Lead Exposure

Article excerpt

Education is the key element to preventing worker lead exposure in the construction industry because rapid and frequent changes in the work environment make identifying the threat a challenge, according to a study published in a special issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

The study, "Clinical Evaluation and Management of Lead-Exposed Construction Workers," said educational efforts should be undertaken whenever excessive lead absorption in an individual or group of workers is identified.

The study specifically reviews the adverse effects of lead and presents an approach to the diagnosis, management and prevention of lead-related illness.

Training is a requirement of the OSHA lead standard and is the responsibility of the employer, the study noted.

Out of the approximately I million construction workers in the United States exposed to lead, the majority work in commercial or residential renovation where lead-based paint exists, the article said. This environment, unlike other industrial settings where lead exposure can occur, is marked by variable exposure conditions, even within the course of a work day, the study said. …