Why is a rigorous housekeeping program required
regardless of the airborne exposure level? Why
is adherence to personal hygiene practices
required if exposure is above the PEL?
Lead is a cumulative and persistent toxic
substance that poses a serious health risk. A
rigorous housekeeping program and adherence to
basic personal hygiene practices will minimize
employee exposure to lead. In addition, these
two elements of the worker protection program
will help to prevent taking lead contaminated
dust out of the worksite and home to the
workers' families. This ensures the
duration of lead exposure does not extend
beyond the workshift and provides added
protection to employees and their families.
What is an effective housekeeping program?
An effective housekeeping program involves at
least daily removal of accumulations of lead
dust and lead-containing debris. Vacuuming
lead dust with high-efficiency particulate air
(HEPA) filtered equipment or wetting it
with water before sweeping are effective
control measures. Such cleaning operations
should be conducted, whenever possible, at the
end of the day, after normal operations cease.
Furthermore, all persons doing the cleanup
should be provided with suitable respiratory
protection and personal protective clothing to
prevent contact with lead.
In addition, employers must collect all lead-containing debris and
contaminated items accumulated for disposal
and put them into closed containers,
impermeable bags or other sealed impermeable
containers. Bags and containers should be
appropriately labeled as lead-containing
waste. These measures are especially
important as they minimize additional sources
of exposure that engineering controls
generally are not designed to control.
Note that the disposal lead debris
the Environmental Protection Agency regulates.