As an employer you have a duty to protect your employees and third parties from the risks associated with lead. Failing to do so can expose your team to possible anemia, kidney disease and occupational cancers. Lack of awareness can result in non-compliance. This has significant liability implications for clients, designers and the entire construction industry supply chain. Lead can seriously damage human health, whether ingested or inhaled, and it is increasingly recognised that there is no ‘safe’ level of lead exposure.
Lead paint can be found in any building constructed prior to 1980.
A lead survey is required….
• under due diligence prior to demolition or refurbishment
• by the CDM regulations 2015
• by the Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002
The results of the survey will enable you to implement effective risk assessments and develop a safe system of work that will protect both the health of your team and the reputation of your business.
Your Legal Obligations
The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 (CLAW) place a duty on employers to prevent, or where this is not reasonably practicable, to control employee exposure to lead.
As an employer you must:
• Assess the risk of exposure the employees to lead at work
• Decide whether or not the potential exposure could be ‘significant’
• Take steps to prevent or adequately control exposure to lead
• Inform employees about the health risks from working with lead and the precautions they should take
• Train employees to use any control measures and protective equipment correctly
To comply with (CLAW) regulations, we recommend you commission a Lead Survey to identify any lead-based hazards you may encounter on your project.
Our full list of lead services:
• Laboratory lead analysis – Paint chip, dust & air samples
• Lead paint surveys – Commercial, industrial and domestic properties
• Post remediation lead clearance testing
• Exposure assessments
• Air quality and exposure monitoring
• DIY lead testing kit – paint chip sample
Materials that commonly contain lead:
• Lead paint
• Water pipes
Our most common FAQs about Lead Testing & Lead Surveys
What precautions should I take when working with lead paint?A If you can it is best to leave lead paint in place as long as it’s in good condition and/or covered by non-leaded paint.
If you do need to remove it, use chemical paint strippers, wet abrasive paper and scrapers. Dispose of contaminated waste safely. Wear appropriate respiratory protective equipment, disposable coveralls and gloves. Avoid cross contamination by taking rest and meal breaks away from the work area.
What are health effects of lead exposure?A Once ingested or inhaled, lead circulates in the blood and bones where it can be stored for many years without ill health developing.
However, high lead content can cause:
• Nausea and stomach pains
• Weight loss
More serious symptoms that can develop over time include:
• Kidney damage
• Nerve and brain damage
How does the lead get into my body?A When lead and items containing lead are processed, worked, or recovered from scrap or waste they can create lead dust, fume or vapour. Your body absorbs lead when you breathe in lead dust, fume or vapour, or swallow any lead, e.g. if you eat, drink, smoke, or bite your nails without washing your hands and face.
Lead is not absorbed through the skin – except in the form of lead alkyls (an additive to petrol) and lead naphthenate. Any lead you absorb at work will circulate in your blood. Your body gets rid of a small amount of lead each time you go to the toilet, but some will stay in your body, stored mainly in your bones. It can stay there for many years without making you ill.
What activities are likely to put me at risk of exposure?A When the work you are doing produces lead dust, fume or vapour you are most at risk.
This can 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
• scrap-processing activities, including recovering lead from scrap and waste
• lead-acid battery manufacture, breaking and recycling
• some painting of buildings
• some spray-painting of vehicles
• working with metallic lead and alloys containing lead, eg soldering
• lead smelting, refining, alloying and casting
• recycling of any materials containing lead (eg cables, TVs or computer monitors containing cathode ray tubes (CRT)
I’m redecorating areas of my house and need to remove the old paint. Do I need full lead survey?A No. We can supply you with a DIY lead sampling kit. The DIY lead sampling kit is ideal for smaller domestic situations and is considerably cheaper than a full survey.