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.

September, 23, 2014

Mr. Jeremy Westcott
Environmental Testing & Consulting, Inc.
38900 Huron River Drive
Romulus, Michigan 48174-1159

Dear Mr. Westcott:

Thank you for your April 7, 2014, letter to the Chicago Regional Office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Your letter was referred to the Directorate of Enforcement Programs for a response to your question regarding OSHA's Lead standard for construction, 29 CFR 1926.62. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question not delineated within your original correspondence. For clarification, your specific question is paraphrased below, followed by OSHA's response.

Background: In your letter, you stated that your company, Environmental Testing & Consulting, Inc. (ETC), uses an x-ray fluorescence analyzer (XRF) as a field screening tool to identify the lead concentration in painted surfaces that will be disturbed in demolition and/or renovation activities, and then you verify the highest concentrations by collecting bulk paint chip samples for laboratory analysis. The results from this analysis is then coupled with a contractor's work activity to identify "worst-case" exposures for personal air monitoring during the work to satisfy the requirements at paragraph 1926.62(d)(1)(iii) for performing an initial exposure determination.

Question: Is ETC's strategy of using XRF analysis an acceptable method for selecting areas with the highest lead content, when developing a "worst-case scenario" for an initial exposure determination?

Response: As a preliminary matter, in your letter you stated "..OSHA does not accept XRF technology as a final determination of the quantity of lead in paint and instead requires the paint chip method." For clarification, the OSHA Lead Standard does not specifically require testing of bulk or painted surfaces for lead content, whether by XRF or paint chip. However, the standard does require employers to perform an initial exposure determination at paragraph 1926.62(d), using airborne exposure monitoring, historical data, or objective data.

Regarding your question, your strategy for using an XRF analyzer as a field screening method would appear to be an acceptable method for determining the painted surfaces with the relative highest concentration of lead. As you have proposed, this XRF information may be used to help employers develop their worst-case exposure scenarios and to satisfy part of the requirements at paragraph 1926.62(d)(1)(iii).

Please be aware that since you are located in Michigan, which is a State Plan state, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) is charged with enforcement of workplace health and safety covering all private and state employees. Michigan may have its own enforceable state standards that are equivalent or stricter than federal standards. Please contact MIOSHA for their specific requirements regarding your situation at:

Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration
P.O. Box 30643
7150 Harris Drive
Lansing, Michigan 48909-8143
Phone: (800) 866-4674

Web: http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/michigan.html

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope this provides the clarification you were seeking. 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 www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of Health Enforcement at 202-693-2190.

Sincerely,

Thomas Galassi, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

cc: Chicago Regional Administrator