Reducing Exposure To Lead Dust

Further to a recent article on the success in helping remove and collect silica dust from employee’s work clothing, ACI is currently assisting a number of companies in reducing a worker’s exposure to respirable metal / mineral dusts, particularly lead.

What are the dangers of lead dust?

Working with lead can affect your health especially if the work being done produces lead dust, fume or vapour.

This can include:

  • Lead smelting, refining, alloying and casting.
  • Manufacturing and processing lead compounds.
  • Manufacturing of paints and pigments.
  • Recycling of materials containing lead.

How does lead get into the body?

When lead and items containing lead are processed, worked or recovered from scrap or waste they can create lead dust, fumes and vapour. The human body absorbs lead when you:

  • Breathe in this dust
  • Swallow any lead – i.e. if you eat, drink or bite your nails without washing hands and face

Lead is not normally absorbed through the skin, although there are some exceptions if handing lead alkyls.  Any lead that is absorbed at work will circulate in the blood, some of which will stay in the body (mainly in bones) for many years without making you ill.

How does lead exposure affect your health?

Lead in the human body can cause:

  • Severe headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pains
  • Loss of weight

More serious side effects could be:

  • Kidney damage
  • Nerve and brain damage
  • Infertility

What can your employer do to protect your health at work?

As well as assessing the risk to health of workers, providing adequate and suitable training, and providing suitable washing and changing facilities, your employer should also be ensuring there is suitable dust extraction and removal systems in place, and keep this equipment in efficient working order.

What should you do to protect your own health?

  • Use all the equipment provided by your employer and follow instructions for use.
  • Follow good and well tested work practises:
    • Keep your immediate work area as clean and tidy as possible
    • Clear up and get rid of any lead waste at the end of each day/shift
  • Do not take home any protective clothing for washing or cleaning

How is ACI helping reduce a worker’s exposure to lead dust?

ACI’s Personnel Cleaning Booth is providing a safe and highly effective means of removing and extracting lead dust quickly and efficiently from workers clothing.

Using low pressure, high volume blower-driven air, the Booth is particularly suited for agitating and removing lead dust from employees’ work clothes without the operator having to remove any clothing or PPE equipment – a process which typically takes no longer than 20 seconds.

The Personnel-Cleaning Booth is a free-standing unit incorporating the ACI’s blower-powered, OSHA compliant JetBlack personnel de-dusting system. The air flow produced (2.52psig/70in.swg) is sufficient to agitate and remove lead dust safely and presents no threat to personal safety, even if airflow is directed directly at human skin.  In other words, it provides a safe alternative to the dangerous, yet frequently employed, practice of using compressed air for cleaning down.

In operation, the Booth is typically sited at entry or exit points of critical areas of the plant such as outside control rooms or office areas where lead dust contamination would have potential impact on co-workers or equipment.

All removed dust can be either collected into bags via a stand-alone extraction and filtration unit, or alternatively ducted into an existing extraction system if present.

For full details, please visit the JetBlack Cleaning Booth product page.

IS DUST GETTING IN YOUR WAY?

We have a solution. Our JetBlack dedusting booth is a safe and effective solution that offers all workers a means for removing dust and contamination from work clothes.

Don’t wait another minute to put the JetBlack Booth to work for you.

Bosch + Siemens

The ACI personnel de-dusting cubicle offers multiple benefits. It achieves effective cleaning of personnel, prevents recontamination of the factory via its exhaust system and helps with quality control…

Walter Keiler,
Safety Coordinator

LaFarge Cement

The ACI Personnel Cleaning Booth is excellent. The air delivery pressure is safe and provides effective de-dusting whilst the downward air flow drives the blown off dust down through the grille floor…

Heather Bennett,
Phase 2 Section Manager