The following is an abridgement of an article originally published on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) website.
NIOSH has published a new resource to help employers and workers reduce hazards associated with lead pipe removal and replacement.
The resource, called Workplace Solutions: Reducing Workers’ Lead Exposure during Water Service Line Removal and Replacement, discusses the potential for lead exposure when workers replace lead service lines (the pipes that carry water to homes and businesses) and provides recommendations to reduce lead exposure. The resource is based on a 2019 health hazard evaluation among city water department employees who were replacing water service lines.
Many types of workers can be exposed to lead through various activities, such as working in excavated pits, cutting or handling lead pipes, or digging with heavy equipment or a shovel. Lead exposure can cause serious health problems, such as anaemia, kidney damage, and neurological effects. Workers can also carry lead home on their skin, clothes, or personal items, which can expose their family members to lead.
NIOSH recommends strategies to reduce workers’ exposure to lead based on the hierarchy of controls. The resource outlines NIOSH’s recommendations for employers and workers, such as:
You can access the resource on the NIOSH website and find more information about lead in the workplace here.
NIOSH offers information to protect workers from lead exposure when replacing lead pipes by NIOSH, 3rd November, 2023.