- Standard Number:
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.
March 18, 1997
Myrtle I. Turner, MPH
Georgia Tech Research Institute
Safety, Health, Environment, and Materials Laboratory
151 Sixth Street; O'Keefe
Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0837
Dear Ms. Turner:
Thank you for your letter of January 29, where you have asked for a written interpretation regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Lead Standards, both General Industry and Construction. Specifically, you have asked which standard applies, the Construction Standard (29 CFR 1926.62) or the General Industry Standard (29 CFR 1910.1025), for lead inspectors and risk assessors conducting sampling for lead-based paint during different phases of an abatement project.
The General Industry Standard for Occupational Exposure to lead does not apply to lead inspectors and risk assessors (for the sake of brevity both positions will be referred to as inspectors) who are conducting lead sampling before, during or after a lead abatement project. The General Industry Standard for lead applies where there is a fixed location, such as a foundry, or a welding shop.
Inspectors move from site to site, which is characteristic of construction. The location of the inspector and the exposure potential is the key to when the Construction Standard would apply. The inspector who enters regulated areas to conduct sampling while the abatement work is in progress is "engaged in work" and is at risk of being "exposed". They are required to be protected the same as the workers doing the removal. For instance, a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) can be a violation of the Construction Lead Standard. The inspector is typically not in the regulated area for very long, perhaps 20 to 30 minutes, so the existing initial determination data taken from the workers, can be adopted by the inspector. Typically, inspectors that are in the regulated area for short periods do not conduct sampling to establish an initial determination for themselves. The inspector could use the sampling data collected from the workers as representative of their own exposure (a worst case scenario) initial determination. OSHA recognizes that the removal workers have been in the regulated area for a much longer time. Other provisions of the standard may apply and would be evaluated on a case by case basis.
The inspectors on a site before and after an abatement job, have a low potential for exposure. The hazard of an airborne lead hazard is unlikely. The inspectors are professionals, trained in the hazards of lead and trained in sampling techniques that minimize exposure. The inspector would be required to wear PPE as appropriate, such as gloves, shoe covers (if the floor is visibly dust-laden), and eye protection if manually chipping paint presents a hazard. In these cases, the general requirements for PPE under the construction standard would apply.
We hope you find this information useful. Thank you for your interest in safety and health. If you have further questions, please call Wanda Bissell of my staff at (202) 219-8036 ext. 36.
John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs
January 29, 1997
Mr. John Miles, Jr.
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Office of Federal Agency Programs
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
Dear Mr. Miles:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lead; Requirements for Lead-Based Paint Activities in Target Housing and Child Occupied Facilities: Final Rule (40 CFR Part 745) issued August 29, 1996, defines lead-based paint activities in the case of target housing and child occupied-facilities as inspection, risk assessment and abatement. Inspectors and risk assessors routinely conduct sampling for lead-based paint at different stages of an abatement project. This might include conducting pre and post-abatement dust, paint chip, and soil sampling, and/or the utilization of wet chemical field tests kits. Inspectors and risk assessors are responsible for conducting lead-based paint activities in addition to all of the activities identified for the inspector technician.
The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) conducts courses in lead inspection, risk assessment, and abatement. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation, "Lead Exposure in Construction; Interim Final Rule (29 CFR 1926.62)," covers all occupational exposure to lead in all construction work in which lead in any amount is present in an occupationally related contex. It does not appear as though the definition of construction work covers employees involved in inspection and risk assessment activities.
We have received numerous questions regarding the applicability of 29 CFR 1926.62 to the lead inspector/risk assessor disciplines. In previous courses, participants were provided information concerning this contained in the attached letter dated March 1, 1995, (from OSHA-Region IV) which states that inspectors or risk assessors are covered under 29 CFR 1910.1025. Yesterday, I received a copy of a letter from OSHA-Region V (dated January 22, 1997) that contradicts this (copy attached).
In an effort to provide course participants with accurate and up to date information regarding the OSHA lead regulation applicable to lead inspectors and risk assessors, GTRI is requesting that OSHA provide a written interpretation of the applicability or inapplicability of 29 CFR 1910.1025 and 29 CFR 1926.62 to the lead inspectors and risk assessors.
GTRI would appreciate your timely response in order that it may be incorporated in our next lead inspector/risk assessor courses.
Research Scientist II
151 6th ST
O'Keefe Bldg., Rm. 029
Atlanta, GA 30332-0837