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 http://www.osha.gov.

May 24, 1985

Sidney Lerner, M.D.
College of Medicine
Mail Location 182
Cincinnati, Ohio 45267

Dear Dr. Lerner:

Your letter dated May 8, 1985, concerning questions regarding the lead standard has been referred to this office for reply.

Following are responses to your questions:

Question - If a worker develops a non-lead related medical condition for which a physician feels that exposure to lead is contra-indicated, can a final medical determination be made before 18 months and, if so, is the employee entitled to any MRP subsequent to the final medical determination?

Answer - Under sections (j) and (k) of the lead standard, a final medical determination can be made to return the worker in question before 18 months, but no final determination can be made that the worker is "incapable of ever safely returning to his or her former job status" until 18 months after the worker's removal. During that 18 months, the worker is entitled to full MRP benefits.

Question - If a worker has been on MRP for 18 months, and his blood lead has not declined to the acceptable level for return, but the physician feels that acceptable to do so, and permits him to return to his former exposures and subsequently the individual develops a medical condition or elevation of blood lead for which the physician feels that transfer to a lower exposure area is indicated, is MRP once again provided to the employee? Is there a particular minimum duration of time that the worker is entitled to receive MRP under such a transfer? Or, is the return and transfer subsequent to the individual receiving a period of MRP for 18 months based solely on the discretion of the physician's opinion and the final medical determination?

Answer - If, after 18 months on removal, a physician determines that an employee with still elevated blood lead levels may return to his/her former job status and the physician later determines that removal once again is necessary, the employee is again entitled to full MRP benefits until the physician determines he/she is again able to return to work; or, until after 18 months of the second removal have passed, a final medical determination is made that the employee is "incapable of ever safely returning to his or her former job status."

I hope this adequately answers your question. If I can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,



Ralph Yodaiken, M.D., M.P.H.
Director Office of Occupational Medicine




May 8, 1985

Assistant Secretary of Labor
United States Department of Labor
Washington, D.C.

Gentlemen:

I have a number of questions regarding the lead standard.

If a worker develops a non-lead related medical condition for which a physician feels that exposure to lead is contra-indicated, can a final medical determination be made before eighteen months and, if so, is the employee entitled to any MRP subsequent to the final medical determination?

If a worker has been on MRP for 18 months, and his blood lead has not declined to the acceptable level for return, but the physician feels that acceptable to do so, and permits him to return to his former exposures and subsequently the individual develops a medical condition or elevation of blood lead for which the physician feels that transfer to a lower exposure area is indicated, is MRP once again provided to the employee? Is there a particular minimum duration of time that the worker is entitled to receive MRP under such a transfer? Or, is the return and transfer subsequent to the individual receiving a period of MRP for 18 months based solely on the discretion of the physician's opinion and the final medical determination?

Thank you very much.

Very truly yours,



Sidney Lerner, M.D.