OSHA Implements New NEP on Occupational Lead Exposure

OSHA on Thursday issued an Instruction transmitting policies and procedures for implementing a National Emphasis Program to reduce occupational exposures to lead, effective immediataly. For the complete directive (number CPL 03-00-009), go to www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_03-00-0009.

The agency-wide directive supercedes the previous OSHA Instruction for an NEP, which was CPL 02-00-130, formerly, CPL 02-0.130, dated July 20, 2001. The new Instruction includes an appendix listing industries to assist the agency’s field offices in determining industries for targeting. The data for this appendix were provided by NIOSH under the Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance Program for the calendar year 2002. OSHA said it has analyzed this data to determine the industries where elevated blood lead levels indicate a need for increased focus in evaluation of airborne lead exposures.

The NEP created by the new directive is implemented to direct the OSHA’s field inspection efforts to address lead exposures in the workplace, including General Industry (1910), Construction (1926), Shipyards (1915), Longshoring (1918), and Marine Terminals (1917). These efforts meet the agency’s strategic plan goals addressing the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). As a result of this act, Federal agencies must demonstrate improved performance and devise a system for measuring results. As stated in the DOL’s Strategic Plan 2006-2011, “…DOL will continue to direct inspections and outreach at establishments and industries with the highest injury, illness, and fatality rates and will respond to complaints of serious workplace hazards. …These efforts will be supplemented by National and Local Emphasis Programs designed to target unsafe conditions or high hazard industries.” The reduction of occupational illnesses and employee exposures to lead continues to be one of the OSHA’s goals, it said.

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