The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002
The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 came into effect on the 21st November 2002. The Regulations re-enact, with modifications, the previous 1998 Regulations. The Regulations place duties on both employers (and self-employed) and employees alike.
Under the Regulations, blood-lead levels below the suspension levels - known as action levels are set, and if these lower levels are breached, employers will have a duty to investigate and remedy the cause.
Employers will also be required to take positive steps to reduce the concentration of lead in air to a level not exceeding the occupational exposure limits in the Regulations. These new Regulations require employers, further to their risk assessment duty under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, to assess the risks from exposure to lead in the workplace, and to take steps to prevent or adequately control such exposure.
If the employer concludes from the assessment that the exposure of employees to lead is likely to be "significant", a team defined in the Regulations and accompanying ACoP, the employer must introduce specific controls such as issuing the employees with protective clothing, carrying out air monitoring and placing them under medical surveillance. If, despite all control measures, the amount of lead that an employee absorbs reaches the suspension level, the doctor responsible for medical surveillance will confirm the measurement and then usually certify that the employee should be removed from any further work involving exposure to lead.
This is to protect the employee from developing the more serious symptoms associated with exposure to lead.