Safety Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 5: Chemical/Hazardous Material Safety

Lead Safety

SPPM 5.25

For more information contact:
   Environmental Health and Safety


Only trained personnel may remove or disturb any lead-containing materials.

Promptly report any release of lead to Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S); telephone 509-335-3041. All lead releases are to be cleaned up by personnel who have received lead awareness training.

The purpose of this policy is to provide employees and students with protection from lead hazards, and to comply with state and federal regulations.

Health Hazard

Once ingested or inhaled, lead may cause kidney, reproductive, nerve, and other physiological damage.

Lead Materials Handling

Possible Lead-Containing Materials

The following items may contain lead:

  • Paint
  • Lead solder
  • Stained glass windows, pottery glaze
  • Lead pipes, lead shielding
  • Lead acid batteries, cable covering, radiators
  • Terne metal roofing, brick mortar
  • Ammunition

Contact EH&S for guidance in working with lead-containing materials.


An EPA-approved lead inspector must sample all suspect lead-containing materials prior to any disturbance, including maintenance, remodeling, and demolition. Contact Facilities Services, Operations to arrange for sampling.

Trigger Tasks

Trigger tasks are tasks that disturb lead-containing materials. The University presumes that employees performing trigger tasks are overexposed to lead until air monitoring proves otherwise.

Trigger tasks include:

  • Demolition
  • Rivet busting, abrasive blasting
  • Scraping, sanding, cutting
  • Spray painting
  • Using heat guns, torch burning, welding
  • Sweeping, and shoveling

Contact EH&S for assistance before initiating any trigger tasks involving lead-containing materials.


All employees who perform any of the trigger tasks listed above must receive annual lead awareness training, provided by EH&S upon the supervisor’s request. Lead awareness training includes information concerning the following:

  • Health effects and lead hazards
  • Sources of lead exposure
  • Employee protection
  • Acceptable work practices to reduce lead exposure
  • Medical surveillance
  • Applicable state and federal regulations

Air Monitoring

Air samples are to be taken during trigger tasks to determine actual lead exposure. Contact EH&S to arrange air monitoring.

Personal Protective Equipment

All employees engaged in any of the trigger tasks on lead-containing materials must do the following (see SPPM 2.62):

  • Wear respirators
  • Have respirator fit-tests every six months
  • Receive respirator training annually

Contact EH&S for respirator selection, fit-testing and training.

If air monitoring shows that employee exposure is less than the action level of 30 micrograms per cubic meter (30 mg/m3), personal protective equipment is not required. Contact EH&S for results of previous air monitoring.

Work Practices

Employees working with lead-containing materials must minimize dust and lead contamination.

Following are lead contamination control measures:

  • Use plastic drop cloths
  • Wet material before disturbing
  • Do not dry sweep or use a regular vacuum on lead-containing materials or waste
  • Use a HEPA vacuum or wet mop to clean up dust and debris

Contact EH&S for additional information on working with lead-containing materials.

Medical Surveillance

All employees who perform trigger tasks on or with lead-containing materials must have annual blood lead and zinc protoporphyrin testing. Supervisors are to contact Human Resource Services (HRS) to arrange for employee medical surveillance testing.

Supervisors must also provide EH&S with a list of affected personnel annually.

Supervisor Responsibilities

Supervisors of employees who perform any of the trigger tasks listed above must:

  • Have suspect materials tested prior to disturbing them.
  • Contact EH&S to arrange for air sampling.
  • Communicate results of air monitoring to employees.

In addition, supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees who perform trigger tasks:

  • Receive annual lead awareness and respiratory protection training.
  • Use appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Follow work practices recommended by EH&S.
  • Receive annual medical surveillance. Contact HRS; telephone 509-335-4521.

Employee Responsibilities

Employees who perform any of the trigger tasks listed above are responsible for ensuring that they:

  • Are informed by their supervisor concerning whether or not suspect materials contain lead.
  • Have airborne lead exposure monitored by EH&S.
  • Use appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Follow work practices recommended by EH&S.
  • Receive annual medical surveillance.

Written Program

Environmental Health and Safety maintains the complete written lead management program and a current copy of applicable state and federal regulations.

Revisions:  Dec. 1999 – new policy (Rev. 26).