During the paste mixing process, lead oxide, water, acid,
and other chemicals are blended in a mixer
to form a thick paste. The major source of lead exposure in this process is from lead
oxide that escapes from the paste mixing machine, dries, and becomes
Potential Sources of Exposure
Possible Engineering Controls
- Major sources of exposure are leaking equipment such as:
- oxide conveyance,
- or mixer door seals.
- Ventilation may be inadequate due to moist material plugging the system, which may allow lead dust to become airborne, or allow rising air currents to carry suspended lead to the employee's breathing zone.
- Sampling and testing oxide or paste may increase the employee's exposure to lead.
- Lead-containing expander may become airborne when added to the paste mixer.
- Manually scraping and cleaning the mixer during cleanup or while
changing pastes may cause lead particles to become airborne.
- Lead exposure may increase when there is re-entrainment of dried and
settled lead on buckets, the cone feeder, or other equipment.
- Lead dust can become airborne when workers fold lead-containing expander bags for disposal outside of a
- Lead oxide can become airborne when dried oxide flakes off of gloves and hand tools.
- When a cone feeder is empty, heat rising from the pasting machine causes
a chimney affect. This may dry out the oxide and suspend it in the rising air currents.
- Lead dust and particles may become airborne due to drafts and air currents caused by moving
equipment or motor drives.
Possible Work Practice
- Use local exhaust ventilation.
- Perform testing and sampling at ventilated workstation.
Mixing Testing Station
- Provide exhaust ventilation at sampling port on mixer, and at expander
- Design clean-out hatches on exhaust system to facilitate cleaning.
- Ensure ventilation is working properly and has adequate transport velocity.
Recommended transport velocity for lead
particulate is 4,200 - 4,500 fpm.
- Keep weigh hopper, delivery system, and mixer continually under negative
pressure (Figure 1).
- Enclose the mixing platform tightly and keep under negative pressure.
- Maintain systems so they are leak-free.
- Install laminar flow (supplied air) islands at operator work station.
- Eliminate manually handling paste by arranging mixer equipment so the
cone discharge is directly over the paste machine feed hopper.
- Keep the cone feeder from becoming empty.
- Watch for oxide leaks and immediately report them to supervisors.
- Close all openings and doors to mixers.
- Empty lead-containing expander slowly into mixer while it is under negative pressure, then carefully discard the empty bags in a closed
- Do not shake or crush empty expander bags.
- Do not hammer the mixers, cone feeders, hoppers, ductwork or any other
paste or oxide vessel with tools to loosen oxide or paste.
- Use plastic or some other material, which will not become heavily contaminated with oxide, to cover
tubs of paste.
- Provide adequate PPE, a change of clothes, and shower rooms (see OSHA Lead Requirements for PPE, Housekeeping, and Hygiene Facilities).
- Report to supervisors all mechanical problems such as defective seals at
oxide transfer points, mixer doors, holes in the mixer or broken seals on the oxide
- Repair defective equipment promptly (see Preventive
- Wipe down exterior of mixer with a light coat of oil.
- Use a central vacuum drop to remove any oxide spills or leaks at the
oxide delivery area and at the mixing operator station.
- Use high-pressure water spray instead of a putty knife during
- Use a putty knife with a long handle if high-pressure water spray is not
- Place tools such as putty knives or spatulas in a pail of water after
- Keep tubs used for transporting paste clean.
|Video Exposure Monitoring: Paste Mixing
With video exposure monitoring (VEM), worker exposures to lead are
monitored and recorded with a direct reading instrument. At the same time, workplace
activities are recorded on a videotape. The left hand bar indicates changes in total dust
concentrations over time.
Dial up Modem, ISDN
LAN, DSL, T1, T3
As the employee loads material to the paste mixer, the red bar
indicates increasing employee exposure occurs while dumping containers into the mixer.
Note: This example illustrates how VEM can be used for determining sources of employee exposure. Other sources
can be determined by using VEM sampling for a full work shift.