Persons Conducting Businesses or Undertakings (PCBU) have a duty under the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 to identify all hazards associated with lead processes and lead risk work and implement control measures to eliminate or reduce the risk of exposure, so far as reasonably practicable.

Exposure to lead has the potential to cause adverse health effects. Lead can be inhaled through dust or fumes or swallowed through eating contaminated food.

Lead processes include working with lead, lead alloys and dry lead compounds and can involve a range of activities, such as radiator or vehicle exhaust system repairs, manufacture or recycling of lead-based batteries, working with lead-based paint, manufacturing ammunition and explosives, removing lead paint from a structure or working with pewter, lead pigments or ceramic glazes.

Businesses must notify SafeWork SA of any lead risk work within 7 days of the risk determination or if a determination in unable to be made. This applies even if the work is short-term, such as abrasive blasting of lead paint from a structure.

Lead risk work is work in a lead process which is likely to cause a worker’s blood lead level to exceed:

  • 5µg/dL (0.24µmol/L) for a female of reproductive capacity, or
  • 20µg/dL (0.97µmol/L) for other cases.

SafeWork SA wants to ensure workers are safe in lead processes and will be auditing workplaces in metropolitan and regional areas.

Audits will be undertaken to ensure that businesses have:

  • an adequate understanding of processes that involve lead risk work
  • the appropriate safe work practices in place including suitable control measures
  • provided appropriate information and training to workers, and
  • the appropriate health monitoring arrangements for workers who are working in lead risk work.

SafeWork SA Inspectors will educate PCBUs to ensure they are informed of their work health and safety obligations, responsibilities and how to appropriately manage risks.

See our Lead Risk Work page for further information.