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Targeting of workplace inspections for lead.
Am J Ind Med 1991 Sep; 20(3):381-390
In order to evaluate the usefulness of different sources of surveillance in targeting for inspection those worksites having potential ongoing lead (7439921) hazards, a list of companies in Ohio and New York, which had been inspected by OSHA for lead or leading containing compounds, was compared with the experiences of companies in New York whose workers had been found to have elevated blood lead levels and with the experiences of companies in Ohio whose workers had filed claims for lead poisoning. The OSHA data included those from 157 lead related inspections at 134 companies in New York from 1979 through 1985 and 337 lead related inspections at 306 companies in Ohio in the same time period. The New York data included 1349 cases of elevated blood lead levels, representing 179 companies, reported to the New York Health Department's Heavy Metal Registry (NYHMR) from 1981 through 1985. The Ohio data included 141 claims for occupational lead poisoning documented by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC), occurring in 50 companies, from 1979 through 1985. Of the 179 companies represented in the NYHMR, only 23 had been inspected by OSHA. Of the 134 New York companies inspected by OSHA, 23 were identified by the NYHMR; 17 of these 23 companies were found on inspection to have lead exposures in excess of the OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL); and 11 of the 111 New York companies inspected by OSHA, but not identified by the NYHMR, had exposures in excess of the PEL. Of the 306 Ohio companies inspected by OSHA, 23 were identified in the review of the BWC cases; 77 of 283 Ohio companies inspected by OSHA, but not identified by the BWC, had lead exposures in excess of the PEL. Companies identified by both OSHA and the BWC had higher mean lead exposures than companies identified by OSHA alone. The Standard Industrial Classifications (SIC) of the companies identified by the NYHMR and by the BWC were ranked by two digit SIC, and these lists were compared with the SIC for OSHA inspections. The authors conclude that the goal of eliminating occupational lead poisoning through the control of lead hazards can only be achieved by a coordinated effort among federal, state, and local public health and enforcement agencies.
NIOSH-Author; Heavy-metal-poisoning; Metallic-poisoning; Exposure-levels; Employee-exposure; Industrial-exposures; Exposure-limits; Surveillance-programs; Employee-health; Health-programs
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division