OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

September 18, 1979

Mr. Paul L. Landry
1150 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20036

Dear Mr. Landry:

This is in reference to your application submitted on behalf of St. Joe Minerals Corporation for a temporary variance from the housekeeping requirements (1910.1025(h)) of the Occupational Health Standards on Lead.

An evaluation of the application and conversations between you and Juanita Jones of my staff reveal that the applicant is presently using several interim housekeeping practices - vacuuming, water hosing, and tennant sweeping - until an effective in-house vacuuming system or other equally effective methods have been designed, installed and tested. You stated that vacuuming is performed by a contractor in areas where heavier lead dust accumulates, wet hosing is performed daily at the end of each shift in areas with light lead dust accumulation, and the tennant sweeper is used only in the loading and transportation area where there is no significant accumulation of lead dust.

You further stated that various housekeeping methods are used because engineering controls such as isolation of the processes and an improved ventillation system have achieved success in reducing lead dust accumulation. Furthermore, observation of the dust and knowledge of the processes enable the applicant to better understand which method is more effective for lead dust removal. Moreover, the environmental monitoring program will identify sources of employee lead exposure and areas where housekeeping practices should be focused. Thus, providing additional protection until the vacuuming system has been completely designed, installed, and tested.

We have determined that the above housekeeping practices, if followed by the applicant, will constitute compliance with the housekeeping requirements of the lead standard in Section 1910.1025(h). Therefore, a variance is unnecessary. The application was discussed with the Kansas City Area Director and he concurs with our decision in this matter.

However, we do advise that a fine mist be used first before performing water hosing to prevent dispersal of lead dust into the workplace.

Accordingly, no further action will be taken on St. Joe Minerals Corporation application. Affected employees and their authorized representatives shall be notified of our decision in the same manner they were informed of the request for a variance.

If you have any questions, please contact the Kansas City Area Director, U.S. Department of Labor OSHA, 1150 Grand Avenue - 6th Floor, 12 Grand Building, Kansas City, Missouri 64106, telephone: (816) 374-2756.


James J. Concannon Director
Office of Variance Determination