Lead removal for surface preparation.

Surface abrasive blasting done safely and effectively.

The Dangers of Lead

The abrasive blasting of lead based coatings poses a risk to workers as well as to the surrounding environment. Blasting operators are subject to lung disorders from breathing abrasive dust and to lead poisoning from lead-laced dust.

Health and environmental issues to operators when removing lead coatings.

It makes no difference if a blasting operator breathes-in, swallows, or absorbs lead particles, the health effects are the same; however, the body will absorbs higher levels of lead when it is breathed directly into the lungs.
Health effects from short-term overexposure to lead can occur if a blasting operator is exposed to very high levels of lead over a short period of time. When this happens, an operator may feel:

  • Abdominal pain and/or constipated
  • Consistently tired
  • Head ache
  • Irritable
  • Loss of appetite
  • Memory loss
  • Pain or tingling in the hands and/or feet
  • Feeling of weakness

Protecting blasters from exposure is a key requirement for project managers of the blasting site. Take all procedures available to reduce the possibility of lead exposure to site workers.

When removing a lead contaiminated coating, the very process of abrasive blasting generates large quantities of lead contaminated waste sand, which is expensive to dispose. Estimations for the tonnage of contaminated sand and grit generated by blasting a medium sized bridge to be about 800 tons if using expendable media.

Laws and Regulations for Lead removal projects

Work health laws states:

If the blasting medium or the surface being blasted contains any crystalline silica, lead or any other substance with an exposure standard, you must ensure that workers are not exposed to levels that exceed the relevant exposure standard. Section 2.1 Identifying the hazards.

Exposure standards represent airborne concentrations of a particular substance or mixture that must not be exceeded. There are three types of exposure standard:

  • 8-hour time-weighted average
  • peak limitation
  • Short term exposure limit

The Work, Health and Safety(WHS) Regulations also contain specific requirements relating to health monitoring for lead.

If a worker is carrying out lead risk work, health monitoring must be provided to a worker before the worker first commences lead risk work and one month after the worker first commences lead risk work.

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