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This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-RD-98-180

Safety and Health on Bridge Repair, Renovation and Demolition Projects


Table of Contents

A. Purpose
B. Scope
C. Action
D. References
E. Federal Program Change
F. Background
G. Procedures
H. Application
I. Recording in IMIS
J. Full Service Program Support

 Directive Number CPL 2.105
 Subject Special Emphasis Program: Lead in Construction
 Information Date March 11, 1996


OSHA Instruction CPL 2.105
March 11, 1996
Office of Health Compliance Assistance

SUBJECT:  Special Emphasis Program:  Lead in Construction

A.   Purpose.  This instruction establishes a nationally directed Special Emphasis Program (SEP) for programmed health inspections of lead in construction operations in accordance with the provisions of the Field Information Reference Manual (FIRM).

B.   Scope.  This instruction applies OSHA - wide.

C.   Action.  Regional Administrators and Area Directors shall ensure that the procedures established in this instruction are adhered to in the scheduling of programmed inspections.

D.   References.

  1. OSHA Instruction CPL 2.103, September 26, 1994, Field Inspection Reference Manual (FIRM).

  2. OSHA Instruction CPL 2.45B, March 3, 1995, The Revised Field Operations Manual (FOM).

  3. Occupational Safety and Health Administration Technical Manual:  OSHA Instruction TED 1.15 Section I, Chapter 1, part C; Section I, Chapter 2; Section IV, Chapter 3, Parts A, B, and C; Section VII.

  4. OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.58, December 13, 1993, 29 CFR 1926.62, Lead Exposure in Construction:  Inspection and Compliance Procedures.

  5. OSHA Instruction STD 3-8.1, October 30, 1978, Welding, Cutting, or Heating of Metals Coated with Lead-bearing Paint.

  6. OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.38C, October 22, 1990, Inspection Procedures for the Hazard Communication Standard.

  7. OSHA Memorandum date August 22, 1994 (Revision September 20, 1995) "Guidance to Compliance Officers for Focused Inspections in the Construction Industry."

E.   Federal Program Change.  This is a federal program change that impacts state programs.

  1. The Regional Administrator (RA) shall ensure that this change is promptly forwarded to each state designee using a format consistent with the Plan Change Two-way Memorandum in Appendix A, OSHA Instruction STP 2.22A, State Plan Policies and Procedures Manual (SPM).

  2. The RA shall explain the content of this change to the State designees.

  3. States are encouraged, but not required, to adopt an identical or alternative policy.  States shall be asked to provide preliminary notification to the RA within 30 days from the date of this instruction of their intent to adopt or not to adopt the procedure in this directive.  The state shall formally respond to this change with an indication of their intent within 70 days in accordance with paragraph I.1.a.(2).(a). and (b), Chapter III of Part I of the SPM.  If the state adopts different compliance procedures, a copy of the procedures shall be provided to the RA within six (6) months from the date of this directive.

  4. State designees also wish to include alternative procedures in a pilot Performance Agreement to be negotiated between the state and the RA and approved by the Assistant Secretary.  Such agreements shall define interim indicators of effectiveness and the results anticipated from a successful policy.

  5. The RA shall review policy, procedures, and instructions issued by the state and monitor their implementation as provided in a performance agreement or through routine monitoring focusing on impact and results.

F.   Background.  Over the past several years OSHA inspections have documented elevated blood lead levels in construction workers.  The source of the exposure is from the cutting, welding, grinding, and/or abrasive blasting on steel surfaces such as bridges and tanks that are coated with lead-bearing paints.  In response, several state plan states, area offices, and regions have developed their own local emphasis programs to address this hazard in the construction industry.

The agency therefore, has determined that an increased uniform OSHA enforcement presence is warranted at work sites where such exposures occur.

  1. In 1990, NIOSH set as a national goal the elimination of lead exposures that result in workers having blood lead concentrations greater than 26 µg/100 grams of whole blood.

  2. In 1991, OSHA announced it would begin to develop a standard regulating lead exposure in construction.

  3. In October, 1992, Congress passed Sections 1031 and 1032 of Title X of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-550).  The Act specifically required the Secretary of Labor to issue an interim final lead standard covering the construction industry.

  4. In May 1993, OSHA issued the Interim Final Rule for Lead in Construction.

  5. The construction scheduling procedure outlined in the FIRM cannot directly be used in scheduling health inspections for lead exposure in construction. Consequently, the following procedures are prescribed in scheduling these inspections.

G.   Procedures.  Inspections under this special emphasis program shall be scheduled and conducted under the following priority:

  1. Referrals:

    For states that have enacted mandatory reporting of blood lead, the Area or Regional Office shall attempt to obtain the blood lead data where possible. Employers with worker blood lead levels above 40 µg/100 grams of whole blood shall be targeted for inspection provided the worker can be identified with an employer. Any means to determine when construction activities involve worker exposure to hazards associated with lead during abrasive blasting, sanding, cutting, burning, welding, painting, etc. of steel structures coated with lead contaminated paints, or during any other disturbance of lead containing materials shall be used. All compliance personnel shall be instructed to be on the lookout for construction activities where there is a potential for exposure to lead.  Such activities can include, but are not limited to:

    residential remodeling,
    petroleum tank repainting,
    indoor and outdoor industrial maintenance* and renovation,
    commercial and institutional remodeling,
    highway and railroad bridge repainting and rehabilitation,
    lead joint work on cast iron soil pipes,
    repair and removal of water lines,
    water tank repainting and demolition,
    highway and railroad bridge demolition,
    housing lead abatement projects,
    electric transmission and communication tower maintenance,*
    electrical cable splicing and resplicing,
    installation of terne roofing,
    elevator cable babbitting,*
    underground storage tank demolition,
    stained glass window removal and repair, and
    mineral wool insulation with lead contamination.*

    *Note:    Construction work means any construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating.  The highlighted activities, may under some circumstances, fall under the General Industry lead standard 29 CFR 1910.1025.  CSHOs should refer to page A-1 of CPL 2-2.58 for a discussion of such instances where 29 CFR 1910.1025 prevails.  For inspections of these activities conducted under this SEP, CSHOs must document that the work is a construction activity as defined by CPL 2-2.58 and 29 CFR 1926.62.

    Every observation of any operation where there exists the potential for lead exposure shall be handled as follows:

    1. Whenever a CSHO observes or receives information, regardless of whether or not a violation is observed, through nonformal complaints, referrals, reports from members of the general public, and so forth, the CSHO shall:

      1. Document the status and condition of the work operation as far as it is known, noting any serious hazards.

      2. Note the name and address and location of the worksite and the contractor(s) performing the operation.

      3. Provide the Area office Supervisor or Area Director with the information.  Based upon the information provided, all potential lead in construction work sites brought to the attention of the Area Office shall be investigated/inspected as follows:

        1. If the worksite has been inspected within the last 30 days, the results of the inspection shall be considered along with the current worksite observations in determining whether or not an inspection is to be conducted.

          1. If the lead-related work was not in progress during the previous visit to the site but is currently in progress the inspection shall be authorized and opened.

          2. If the lead-related work was in progress and evaluated during the previous inspection, the inspection will be opened only if apparent serious violations are present or can reasonably be expected at the site.

        2. If the worksite has not been inspected within the previous 30 days, an investigation/inspection shall be conducted unless it is apparent that workers are not exposed to lead.

    2. Reports of imminent danger, fatality/catastrophe reports, formal/nonformal complaints, safety and health referrals from other federal, state, county, and city agencies, media reports, reports for physicians, hospitals, or medical clinics, and reports from the general public shall be investigated/inspected by the Area Office.

    3. The discovery of these work sites may be the result of a specific search to find this type of operation, at the discretion of the Regional Administrator.  Although sightings will be those normally that occur during the course of routine travel during duty or non-duty hours, Regional policy may provide that the Area Director saturate areas of high construction activity to identify potential lead in construction work sites. Documentation of the events leading up to the observation shall be maintained by the Area Office in case of a denial of entry.

  2. Area Offices are encouraged to develop a list of construction contractors under their jurisdiction likely to be involved in lead related activities.  SIC Codes most likely to be included in the list involve 1622 (bridge tunnel, and elevated highway construction), 1629 (heavy construction), 1721 (painting and paperhanging), 1791 (structural steel erection), 1795 (wrecking and demolition work, and 1799 (special trade contractors not elsewhere classified). Sources for contractors involved in lead related work can include, but are not limited to:  federal or state Department of Transportation (DOT) contacts (bridge contracts), Dodge reports, and state and local building permits.

    Inspection sites will be randomly selected for inspection from the list compiled from the above sources using a random numbers table. (This selection process sets forth administratively neutral criteria to identify establishments for inspection.)  As new sites are added they should be randomized for inspection.

    If a contractors' list is used for randomly selected inspections, the list of selected contractors should be checked with local state agencies such as the DOT to determine whether or not the selected contractor are involved in an active site.

    Note:  If a contractor does not have an active site, the Area Office may elect to review the records at the company's office or headquarters (bid specifications, contracts, respirator program, medical surveillance records, air monitoring records, lead training, compliance program, and hazard communication).  Citable deficiencies will be documented and violations issued provided exposure to lead within the previous six months can be substantiated.

  3. Industrial hygienists conducting these inspections should consult with safety CSHO's on fall protection hazards and hazards associated with working over water. Where resources permit, a joint safety and health inspection should be conducted.  Referrals to safety compliance officers where appropriate shall be submitted.

  4. The "Memorandum dated August 22, 1994 (Revision (2) September 20, 1995) Guidance to Compliance Officers for Focused Inspections in the Construction Industry" will be followed.

H.   Application.

  1. Inspections under this SEP shall address all aspects of any potential lead work or exposure and include a review of all related written documentation (i.e., record keeping, monitoring, medical, respirator fit testing and procedures, hazard communication, and training materials).  The CSHO may expand the inspection scope beyond the lead related activities if hazards or violations are observed (FIRM CH. II-1).

  2. When the company headquarters are located in another Region, every attempt shall be made to obtain the above information.  A referral to another Region should be considered for violation of 1926.33, if access to employee exposure and medical records is denied.

  3. If a site turns out to be located within the jurisdiction of another Area Office, a referral will be made to the appropriate Area Office according to current procedures.  Information obtained from the contractors' headquarters will be shared with any other Area Office having an active site.

  4. The number of inspections conducted under this SEP shall be determined independently by each Region.  The inspections planned under this SEP shall be deducted from the number of total planned inspections.

  5. CSHO's shall conduct personal monitoring and collect wipe samples as appropriate to document exposures.  See OSHA Instruction TED 1.15.

  6. While evaluating worker exposures to lead, CSHOs will also need to be aware of and evaluate potential exposures to other metals including but not limited to: arsenic, manganese, chromium, cadmium, copper, and magnesium.  CSHOs should not request an ICP (inductively coupled plasma) analysis for abrasive blasting operations or when an arsenic analysis is needed without first contacting the inorganic lab of the Salt Lake City Technical Center.  Atomic Absorption (AA) Spectroscopy can be requested for arsenic and any of the other specific metals.  With AA spectroscopy a total of four metals can be requested per sampling filter.

I.   Recording in IMIS.  Current instructions for completing the appropriate inspection classification boxes (Items 24 and 25), as found in the IMIS Manual for the OSHA 1 Form shall be applied when recording inspections conducted under this SEP as follows:

  1. The OSHA-1 Form for any programmed inspection covered under this special emphasis program for lead in construction shall be marked "PLANNED" (Item 24h), "CONSTRUCTION" (Item 25a) and "SPECIAL EMPHASIS PROGRAM" (Item 25d).  Record "LEAD" in the space in item 25d.

  2. The OSHA-1 Form for any unprogrammed inspection shall be marked as unprogrammed (Item 24a. through g. as appropriate).  In addition, it shall be marked "SPECIAL EMPHASIS PROGRAM" (Item 25d).  Record "LEAD" in the space in Item 25d.

J.   Full Service Program Support.  Each Area Office/Region is encouraged to develop outreach programs that will support the enforcement effort.  Such programs could include letters to employers, the Associated General Contractors (AGC), local unions, Associated Builders and Contractors, local safety councils, apprenticeship programs, local hospitals and occupational health clinics, and/or other construction employer organizations that engage in lead in construction activities.  Speeches through the local safety councils or industrial hygiene organizations can provide another avenue for dissemination of information as can press releases to the local media.  Region I has had a special emphasis program for lead in construction since 1989.  The lead coordinator for Region I can be contacted for guidance and information on the outreach program ((617) 565-7164).

Area Offices are encouraged to develop a list of contractors involved with lead in construction work.  Once the list has been generated, every contractor can be contacted (if resources permit) in writing and provided with a copy of the lead in construction standard and general information available about lead.

For additional outreach information and guidance please contact the Office of Health Compliance Assistance at 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Room N-3467, Washington, D.C. 20210; (202) 219-8036.

Joseph A. Dear
Assistant Secretary

Distribution:  National, Regional, and Area Offices

All Compliance Officers
State Designees
NIOSH Regional Program Directors
7(c)(1) Consultation Project Managers

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