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.

January 19, 1981

                 Regional Administrator

ATTENTION:        Kenneth Gerecke

THRU:             JOHN B. MILES
                 Director Field Coordination

                 Acting Director, Federal Compliance and
                   State Programs

SUBJECT:          Lead Standard Enforcement Clarification

This is in response to your memorandum (enclosed) requesting a clarification of compliance procedures for implementing 29 CFR 1910.1025(d) and (l)(1)(i).

1. 29 CFR 1910.1025(l)(1)(i).

Employers are required to provide an information and training program for all employees subjected to lead above the action level, or who may suffer skin or eye irritation from lead. For employees who are occupationally exposed to lead below the action level, employers need only inform them of the content of appendices A and B of the lead standard. Thus, an employer may comply with the informational requirement of 29 CFR 1910.1025(l)(1)(i) by using any method which will effectively apprise employees of the content of appendices A and B, including posting, group discussions, or individual notification (oral or written).

When investigating compliance with (l)(1)(i), the industrial hygienist shall use professional judgment in the evaluation of the employer's monitoring data, conditions, and any other information collected during the walkaround to determine which employees have potential occupational exposure to lead and whether OSHA sampling is necessary. Where sample results below the action level are used to support a violation of (l)(1)(i), there must be additional supporting information that the employee's exposure to lead is occupationally related (such as identification of the source of the lead).

2. 29 CFR1910.1025(d).

Employers covered by 29 CFR 1910.1025 must perform at least a minimal amount of exposure monitoring. In most instances this involves instrument monitoring. Where the employer can clearly demonstrate, in the absence of instrument monitoring data, that a certain usage or handling will not create airborne concentrations in excess of the action level, then instrument monitoring may be unwarranted.

Generally, however, the employer must have some type of monitoring results available to make this determination, even if the monitoring results come from other, but similar, plants and operations.

Where a negative initial determination is reached without instrument monitoring, the employer must have a written explanation as to why exposures are not expected to exceed the action level. This record is a requirement under 29 CFR 1910.1025(d)(5).

Thus, where exposures are so low that the employer predicted them to be below the action level in this manner, a determination should be made as to whether the employer is in compliance with the written record requirement of (d)(5).