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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.1025


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 22, 1985

Sidney Lerner, M.D.
University of Cincinnati Medical Center
College of Medicine
Mail Location 182
Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0182

Dear Dr. Lerner:

Assistant Secretary Robert A. Rowland has asked us to respond to your letter of May 7, asking specific questions regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lead standard (29 CFR 1910.1025).

Your questions relate to a situation in which an employee is removed from lead exposure because of a confirmed blood lead above 60 µg/100 g blood; and, if after 14 months, the employee's blood lead, on a confirmed specimen, is 35 µg/100 g blood. The following answers and sections of the lead standard apply to your questions:

Question 1: Is the employer required to return him to his former job status?

Answer 1: Yes, the employer is required to return the employee to his former job status.

Section 29 CFR 1910.1025(k)(1)(iii)(A)(3) of the lead standard applies: "For an employee removed due to a blood lead level at or above 60 µg/100 g, or due to an average blood lead level at or above 50 µg/100 g, when two consecutive blood sampling tests indicate that the employee's blood lead level is at or below 40 µg/100 g of whole blood...."

Question 2: May the employer elect to keep him in his current "low-level" exposure area until 18 months have expired?

Answer 2: Yes.

Section 29 CFR 1910.1025(k)(2)(i) of the lead standard applies: "The employer shall provide to an employee up to eighteen (18) months of medical removal protection benefits on each occasion that an employee is removed from exposure to lead or otherwise limited pursuant to this Section."

Question 3: If the employer keeps him in the low-level exposure area for 18 months and the doctor allows him to return to his regular job, and his blood lead rises, can the doctor then recommend removal without the employer being required to give the employee another 18 months of MRP?

Answer 3: No, the doctor cannot recommend medical removal without the employer being required to give the employee another 18 months of medical removal protection. See Section 29 CFR 1910.1025(k)(2) (i), quoted above. The employer must provide up to 18 months of medical removal protection on each occasion of removal.

Should you require additional information concerning the lead standard, you may wish to contact our Regional Office in Chicago:

U.S. Department of Labor —
OSHA 32nd Floor Rm. 3244
230 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, Illinois 60604

Telephone: 312-353-2220

We hope this information is helpful to you. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,



John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Field Operations
[Corrected 08/16/2007]



May 7, 1985

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210


Dear Sir:

I have some questions about OSHA Lead Standard.

A worker is removed from lead exposure because of a confirmed blood lead above 60 µg/100 g blood. He is placed in a work assignment which has an air-lead exposure less than 30 µg/m3. After 14 months, his blood lead, on a confirmed specimen, is 35 µg/100 g blood. Is the employer required to return him to his former job? May the employer elect to keep him in his current "low-level" exposure area until 18 months have expired? If the employer keeps him in the low-level exposure area for 18 months and the doctor allows him to return to his regular job, and his blood lead rises, can the doctor then recommend removal without the employer being required to give the employee another 18 months of MRP?

Thank you very much.

Very truly yours,



Sidney Lerner, M.D.
College of Medicine
Mail Location 182
Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0162


Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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