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 18, 1996

Christopher Seniuk, MPA, CSP, CIH
Assistant Vice President
Director of Safety and Health
Lovell Safety Management Co., Inc.
161 William Street
New York, New York 10038-2675

Dear Mr. Seniuk:

This letter is in response to your "second" letter to my office on November 1, 1995, regarding lead in construction. First I must apologize for not responding to your original letter dated July 26, 1995, as we have no record of having received it. In response to your two letters there appears to be some confusion about what has been allowed in Chicago plumbing operations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) did not exempt Chicago plumbers from conducting initial monitoring under the construction lead standard (29 CFR 1926.62). Apparently you were informed that OSHA provided an exemption to the initial monitoring requirements if the workers received training, blood lead monitoring, and were provided appropriate respiratory protection. OSHA has not provided anyone such an exemption.

In the Chicago situation you referenced, the plumbing contractors, as a group, hired a consultative firm to evaluate and monitor plumbing work for lead exposure. The study specifically evaluated lead exposure during melting and pouring while installing cast iron soil pipes. The evaluation and monitoring conducted by the consultative firm covered a variety of workplace and weather situations. This study included what would be considered worst case scenarios for this type of work in the Chicago area. The contractors are relying on this data in accordance with 29 CFR 1926.62(d)(3)(iii) as their initial monitoring data. The individual plumbing contractors must assure under this section that their work conforms to the parameters established by the consultative evaluation and the standard. Depending upon the established exposure level, other sections of the construction lead standard may be applicable.

If the plumbing contractors in New York City or elsewhere wish to take the same approach as the Chicago contractors they can collect data and information as established under 29 CFR 1926.62(d)(3)(iii). As in Chicago, the data and work conditions for each job would be evaluated on a case by case date. If you have any additional questions or if we can provide you with additional information please contact Richard Fairfax of my staff at (202) 219-8036.


John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs

November 1, 1995

Mr. John Miles
Director of Compliance Programs
Occupational Safety and
Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear John:

While closing out my files for the 1995 calendar year, I noted I have not received any written correspondence indicating the Agency would consider the expansion of the Chicago Area Office's local emphasis program involving lead exposure and plumbing activities to the national level.

By not maintaining consistency, New York is placed in an unfair competitive advantage with other similar metropolitan areas. Although plumbing and lead exposure may seem insignificant in the overall scheme, multiplying inconsistencies causes insignificant issues to evolve into important concerns.

Attached is the letter submitted to your attention in July 1995. Please consider my request to expand this local emphasis program to the national level. If you require any additional information, please contact me at 212-349-1221, extension 401.

Thank you.


Christopher Seniuk MPA CSP CIH
Assistant Vice President
Director of Safety & Health


July 26, 1995

Mr. John Miles
200 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear Mr. Miles:

Recently, I read an article in the BNA Occupational Safety and Health Reporter which indicated the Chicago Area Office is not enforcing specific requirements of the Lead in Construction Standard as it pertains to plumbing contractors who work with lead in open and well ventilated areas.

Based on my discussions with the Chicago Area Office, a local special emphasis program was established for Lead in Construction. From my understanding of the article and discussions with Chicago field staff, plumbing contractors who have performed lead awareness training, performed personal air monitoring and base line blood lead tests, and provide respiratory protection when applicable do not have to conduct initial personal monitoring at the start of the job.

To maintain consistency between Regions, is the National Office intending on issuing a Directive incorporating this program nation wide? Many plumbing contractors would be receptive to this type of Directive, protecting workers in a cost effective manner.

Please provide me with your feed back on this issue as soon as possible. Thank you for your time and interest in safety and health and do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


Christopher Seniuk MPA CSP CIH
Assistant Vice President
Director of Safety and Health