Understand The Dangers Of Lead Dust
A recent prosecution published by the HSE has highlighted the clear dangers of lead dust exposure to our health.
Occupational lead exposure can have a detrimental impact to health and can bring about the effects of lead poisoning. The dangers are very common in certain industries and jobs in particular construction. However, it is not just the workers at risk, families and friends will also feel the effects of the particles brought home on work clothes and the seats of a car.
How Is Lead Dust Created?
Lead dust can commonly occur when stripping lead paint from doors and windows which were often used on buildings up until the early 1960’s. Other ways in which lead dust is created includes remedial work on lead roofs, flaking can frequently happen during this type of work, smelting, recycling, using leaded gasoline or aviation fuel. Further to this, hot works with lead can produce the poisonous particles.
The Effects of Lead Dust on Your Health
Lead poisoning impacts multiple areas of the body and is exceptionally harmful to young children. Children can ingest 5 times the amount of lead as the average adult exposed. Anaemia or kidney disease are just a few of the impacts to adults, but when it comes to young children the effects can stem much further and place significant risks on the development of their brain and nervous system.
Health & Safety Breach and Prosecution
A foundry based in North Lincolnshire has recently been prosecuted and fined following safety breaches which exposed their workers to harmful lead dust.
During a refurbishment of church bells workers were informed that old paint which they had been stripping from the bell contained lead.
To Little To Late – The Damage Has Been Done
The workers had now been exposed to the dangerous lead dust particles for some time after using power tools for the remedial work. The foundry was fined over £13k after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 5(1), of the Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002. They were also ordered to pay £6,469.90 in costs.
Control Measures for Lead Dust
There are simple control measures and safe working practices to avoid incidents such as this including:
- The use of correct personal protective equipment (PPE) and respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
- Leaving paintwork in place that is in good condition
- Using different work methods to limit the amount of dust or fume you create
- Providing workers with suitable training around the control of substances hazardous to health