Services / Lung Health Testing Services

Lead Exposed Worker Program

Lead Health Monitoring tests to determine if there is a burden of lead in a worker’s body. Lead exposure can lead to a variety of serious health conditions, including anemia, gastrointestinal dysfunction, and damage to the nerves and central nervous system resulting in symptoms including mood changes, hearing loss, hallucinations, and, in some serious cases, coma or death. Evidence also links persistent lead exposure with hypertension, reduced kidney function, problems with male reproductive health, and cancer of the brain, lungs, kidneys, and stomach.

SureHire's Lead Health Monitoring provides a means of detecting any changes in worker health that may have been caused by exposure to lead so that steps can be taken to stop damage from progressing.

Different Test Types

SureHire's monitoring program involves a health questionnaire focusing on past and present lead exposure, as well as a physician's review and blood draw.

Understanding the Results

If there is a burden of lead in a worker’s body, a variety of serious health conditions can develop. It can take many months or even years for symptoms to present themselves following the initial exposure. Where the worker has a blood level that indicates lead poisoning, an occupational health and safety officer, under the direction of a Director of Medical Services, may require the employer to remove the worker from further lead exposure.

Lead exposure can lead to a variety of serious health conditions. In some cases, exposure can be fatal over time. In addition to the health of your workers, the health of their families may also be at risk if lead dust is taken from the workplace to the family vehicle or home on clothing, footwear or in the hair.

SureHire's Lead Health Monitoring provides a means of protecting the well-being of your employees by detecting any changes in their health that may have been caused by exposure to lead so that steps can be taken to arrest progression as early as possible. The results of medical monitoring can also be useful in evaluating the effectiveness of protective measures already in place to control lead exposure at work, and can assist employers in deciding whether and when changes to safety measures are necessary.

SureHire will also provide you with the most up-to-date educational information so that you and your employees can be as informed as possible about the risks of lead exposure and what steps can be taken to mitigate those risks.

When can I test?

As an employer, it is your responsibility to help protect the health of your employees and to inform them of any hazards they may be exposed to at work. If lead is present in the workplace and poses a hazard, an exposure control plan must be in place to minimize worker exposure. Employers should consider strategies like elimination and substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and the use of proper personal protective equipment (PPE).

In addition to putting your employees, and potentially their family members, at risk of injury or death, failure to comply with federal and provincial occupational health and safety regulations may result in fines and legal action.

Booking

Contact a SureHire representative to learn more about how our Lead Exposure Monitoring can be integrated into your company's health and safety program. Appointments for individual tests and assessments can be booked both by phone and online.

FAQs

WHAT IS LEAD?

Lead is a dense, malleable metal that is commonly found in paint, art supplies, and certain gasoline products that is considered toxic. If dust or smoke containing lead is ingested or inhaled, it can have numerous harmful health effects. Fragments of lead that have been ingested or inhaled can be deposited into the bone and may accumulate there over the course of months or years before it is released into the blood stream. It can take a long time for symptoms to appear following initial exposure.

WHAT EFFECTS CAN LEAD EXPOSURE HAVE ON EMPLOYEE HEALTH?

Lead exposure can lead to anemia, gastrointestinal dysfunction, and damage to the nerves and central nervous system resulting in symptoms including mood changes, hearing loss, hallucinations, and, in some serious cases, coma or death. Evidence also links persistent lead exposure with hypertension, reduced kidney function, problems with male reproductive health, and cancer of the brain, lungs, kidneys, and stomach.

In addition to risks to your workers' health, the health of your workers' families may be at risk if lead dust is taken from the workplace to the family vehicle or home on clothing, footwear or in the hair. Children and pregnant women are much more susceptible to the health effects from lead exposure, as lead poisoning can impair physical and psychological development in children.

WHAT ARE SOME OCCUPATIONS WHERE LEAD MAY BE FOUND?

Workers in the following industries are at the highest risk of occupational exposure to lead:

  • metalwork;
  • manufacturing;
  • demolition;
  • working with scrap metal; and
  • working with batteries (manufacturing and recycling)

A number of other occupations also carry a high risk of lead exposure, including all of the following:

  • artists, jewelers and potters
  • battery or metal recycling workers
  • chrome plating workers
  • demolition & renovation workers
  • electronic manufacturing workers
  • foundry workers
  • galvanizing or galvanized metal processing workers
  • glass manufacturer & recycling workers
  • lead abatement workers
  • lead manufacturers, miners
  • refiners & smelters
  • painters that apply industrial coatings
  • plastics manufacturing
  • plumbers & pipefitters
  • radiator & automotive repair technicians
  • shooting range workers
  • type press printing & stamp production workers
  • welders

Canadian Jurisdictions OEL (mg/m3)
Canada Labour Code 0.05
BC, AB, MB, ON, QC, NL, PEI, NB, NS 0.05
SK 0.05 [stel],
0.15 [stel]
NT, NU, YT 0.15 [stel],
0.45 [stel]
Other Jurisdiction OEL (mg/m3)
ACGIH 2014 TLV 0.05

Lead exposure can put you at risk for developing a number of serious health conditions. In some cases, exposure can be fatal over time. The health of your families may also be at risk if lead dust is taken from the workplace to the family vehicle or home on your clothing, footwear or in your hair.

SureHire's Lead Health Monitoring provides a means for detecting any changes in your health that may have been caused by exposure to lead. We will also provide you with the most up-to-date educational information so that you can be as informed as possible about the risks of lead exposure and what steps can be taken to mitigate those risks to you and your family.

What to Expect

As part of SureHire's Lead Exposure Monitoring Program, your participation in the following tests will help us determine if lead is present in your system:

  • a health questionnaire focusing on your past and present exposure to lead,
  • blood testing; and
  • a physician's review.

When you arrive for your appointment, you will be required to present government-issued photo ID.

No special preparation or fasting is required.prior to your blood test. It is a good idea to drink plenty of water to keep your blood pressure from dropping, as the leading cause of fainting and dizziness during a blood test is a drop in blood pressure. You should also try to avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks before your test because they actually cause your body to expel water and become dehydrated. We also recommend eating breakfast before your appointment to help keep your blood sugar up. This will help you to feel better after your blood has been taken and prevent lightheadedness/dizziness. If you think you might become nauseous during the blood draw, don't eat anything immediately before your appointment.

If you take a blood-thinning medication, such as heparin or Coumadin (warfarin), tell the doctor/nurse/technician about these medications before your blood is drawn. After your blood is drawn, the phlebotomist will closely observe the puncture site to see that bleeding has stopped before you leave the collection location.

If needles make you anxious, let the person taking your blood know and they can explain everything he or she is doing to help you relax. Taking blood usually lasts less than a minute.

The bandage can be removed an hour after your blood has been taken. If the puncture begins to bleed again later, apply slight pressure until the bleeding stops and apply a new bandage. Bruising may occur at the blood draw site, but there is no need to be worried if this happens. Apply some ice to the site and give it a few days to resolve. To prevent bruising, avoid carrying anything heavy with that arm for a couple hours after your blood is taken.

Know Your Rights

It is the duty of your employer to help protect your health and to inform you of the hazards you may be exposed to at work. Participation in the Lead Health Monitor Program can be an essential tool for the early detection of problems caused by exposure to lead.Ask your employer if lead is present in the workplace and poses a hazard and exposure control plan, engineering controls, and administrative controls are in place.

To decrease your exposure to lead, do not eat, drink or use tobacco products in areas where lead is present, be sure to wash your hands and face before eating, drinking or smoking, follow safe work procedures and always use personal protective equipment (PPE). Where possible, keep any clothing or equipment that may have come into contact with lead in your work locker to avoid contaminating your car or home.

FAQs

WHAT IS LEAD?

Lead is a dense, malleable metal that is commonly found in paint, art supplies, and certain gasoline products that is considered toxic. If dust or smoke containing lead is ingested or inhaled, it can have numerous harmful health effects. Fragments of lead that have been ingested or inhaled can be deposited into the bone and may accumulate there over the course of months or years before it is released into the blood stream. It can take a long time for symptoms to appear following initial exposure.

WHAT EFFECTS CAN LEAD EXPOSURE HAVE ON MY HEALTH?

Lead exposure can lead to anemia, gastrointestinal dysfunction, and damage to the nerves and central nervous system resulting in symptoms including mood changes, hearing loss, hallucinations, and, in some serious cases, coma or death. Evidence also links persistent lead exposure with hypertension, reduced kidney function, problems with male reproductive health, and cancer of the brain, lungs, kidneys, and stomach.

In addition to risks to your health, the health of your family may be at risk if lead dust is taken from the workplace to the family vehicle or home on clothing, footwear or in the hair. Children and pregnant women are much more susceptible to the health effects from lead exposure, as lead poisoning can impair physical and psychological development in children.

WHAT ARE SOME OCCUPATIONS WHERE LEAD MAY BE FOUND?

Workers in the following industries are at the highest risk of occupational exposure to lead:

  • metalwork;
  • manufacturing;
  • demolition;
  • working with scrap metal; and
  • working with batteries (manufacturing and recycling)

A number of other occupations also carry a high risk of lead exposure, including all of the following:

  • artists, jewelers and potters
  • battery or metal recycling workers
  • chrome plating workers
  • demolition & renovation workers
  • electronic manufacturing workers
  • foundry workers
  • galvanizing or galvanized metal processing workers
  • glass manufacturer & recycling workers
  • lead abatement workers
  • lead manufacturers, miners
  • refiners & smelters
  • painters that apply industrial coatings
  • plastics manufacturing
  • plumbers & pipefitters
  • radiator & automotive repair technicians
  • shooting range workers
  • type press printing & stamp production workers
  • welders

Sources:

Work Safe BC – Hazards and Exposures: Lead

Work Safe Alberta – OHS Bulletin: Lead at the Work Site

WHY SHOULD I PARTICIPATE IN A LEAD HEALTH PROGRAM?

An ongoing monitoring program can alert you to small changes in your health so that steps can be taken to arrest the progression of any adverse health effects in their earliest stages.

WHAT CAN I DO TO CONTROL MY EXPOSURE TO LEAD?

The best way to protect yourself is to limit your exposure to lead as much as possible. If lead is present in the workplace and poses a hazard, an exposure control plan must be in place to minimize worker exposure. Employers should consider strategies like elimination and substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and PPE.

Inhalation is the most common route of occupational exposure, followed by ingestion. Adhering to safe work practices, maintaining a high level of personal hygiene, and the proper use of PPE such as respiratory protection and appropriate protective clothing can all help to greatly reduce your risk of harmful exposure.

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