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Personal hygiene practices
  • Employers must provide clean change areas, showers and washing facilities, and lunchroom facilities to prevent employees from contaminating other areas with lead.

Employers must emphasize workers’ personal hygiene such as washing their hands and faces after work and before eating to minimize their exposure to lead. Employers should provide and ensure that workers use washing facilities. Clean change areas and readily accessible eating areas must be provided. If possible, employers should provide a parking area where cars will not be contaminated with lead. These measures reduce workers’ exposure to lead and the likelihood that they will ingest lead, and ensure that the exposure does not extend beyond the worksite.

Change areas

The employer must provide a clean changing area for employees whose airborne exposure to lead is above the permissible exposure limit (PEL). The area must be equipped with storage facilities for street clothes and a separate area with facilities for the removal and storage of lead-contaminated protective work clothing and equipment. This separation prevents cross contamination of the employee’s street and work clothing.

Employees must use a clean change area for taking off street clothes, suiting up in clean protective work clothing, donning respirators before beginning work, and dressing in street clothes after work. No lead-contaminated items should enter this area.

Under no circumstances should lead-contaminated work clothes be laundered at home or taken from the worksite, except to be laundered professionally or for disposal following applicable federal, state, and local regulations.

Showers and washing facilities

When feasible, employers must provide showers for employees whose airborne exposure to lead is above the PEL so they can shower before leaving the worksite. Where showers are provided, employees must change out of their work clothes and shower before changing into street clothes and leaving the worksite. If employees do not change into clean clothing before leaving the worksite, they may contaminate their homes and automobiles with lead dust, extending their exposure and exposing other members of their household to lead.

In addition, employers must provide adequate washing facilities. These facilities must be close to the worksite and furnished with water, soap, and clean towels so employees can remove lead contamination from their skin.

Contaminated water from washing facilities and showers must be disposed of in accordance with applicable local, state, or federal regulations.

Personnel practices

The employer must ensure that employees do not enter lunchroom facilities or eating areas with protective work clothing or equipment unless surface lead dust has been removed. In all areas where employees are exposed to lead above the PEL, employees must observe the prohibition on the presence and consumption or use of food, beverages, tobacco products, and cosmetics. Employees whose airborne exposure to lead is above the PEL must wash their hands and faces before eating, drinking, smoking, or applying cosmetics.

End-of-day procedures

Employers must ensure that workers who are exposed to lead above the PEL follow these procedures at the end of their workday:

  • Place contaminated clothes, including work shoes and personal protective equipment to be cleaned, laundered, or disposed of, in a properly labeled closed container.
  • Sshower and wash hair. Where showers are not provided, employees must wash hands and faces at the end of the shift.
  • Change into street clothes in clean change areas.