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Occupational health and safety requirements for the use of lead and its ionic compounds

Issuer:Government
Type:regulation
In force from:05.04.2024
In force until: In force
Translation published:13.06.2024

Occupational health and safety requirements for the use of lead and its ionic compounds1

Passed 20.06.2000 No. 193
RT I 2000, 49, 309
Entry into force 01.07.2000

Amended by the following legal instruments (show)

PassedPublishedEntry into force
29.11.2018RT I, 05.12.2018, 101.01.2019
06.11.2020RT I, 12.11.2020, 124.11.2020
01.04.2024RT I, 02.04.2024, 1305.04.2024

This Regulation is enacted on the basis of Sections 3(4), 4(5), 7(3) and 131(9) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act [ töötervishoiu ja tööohutuse seadus ].
[RT I, 02.04.2024, 13 – entry into force 5 April 2024]

§ 1.  Scope

 (1) The occupational health and safety requirements for the use of lead and its ionic compounds apply to work during which workers may be exposed to lead or its ionic compounds. The following activities constitute work involving a risk of exposure to lead:
 1) handling of lead concentrate;
 2) lead and zinc smelting and refining;
 3) lead arsenate manufacture and handling;
 4) manufacture of lead oxides;
 5) production of other lead compounds, including alkyl lead compounds during which ionic lead is released;
 6) manufacture or use of paints, enamels and mastics containing lead;
 7) battery manufacture and recycling;
 8) craftwork in which materials containing tin and lead are used;
 9) manufacture and frequent use of lead solder in an enclosed space;
 10) manufacture and use of ammunition containing lead in an enclosed space;
 11) manufacture of products from lead or materials containing lead;
 12) manufacture of ceramic products containing lead;
 13) manufacture of crystal glass;
 14) manufacture of plastics containing lead;
 15) printing work in which media containing lead are used;
 16) demolition and burning of materials containing lead;
 17) vehicle assembly and repair work;
 18) manufacturer of leaded steel;
 19) lead tempering of steel;
 20) lead coating;
 21) recovery of metallic residues containing lead;
 22) other cases where lead and its ionic compounds are used.

 (2) These requirements shall not apply to sea transport and air transport, to the mining and quarrying of lead ores, to the preparation of lead concentrate during mining or quarrying, or to the use of alkyl lead compounds.

§ 2.  Determining the concentration of lead in the air of the working environment

 (1) The concentration of lead in the air of the working environment shall be determined at least once every 3 months. The concentration of lead may be determined once a year where the results of the two previous measurements have shown that:
 1) the concentration of lead in the air did not exceed 100 µg/m3;
 2) the conditions in the working environment have not changed;
 3) no worker’s blood-lead level is greater than 60 µg Pb/100 ml.

 (2) The concentration of lead in the air of the working environment shall be measured at the request of the employer by a laboratory that is accredited by an accreditation body or that holds confirmation of its professional competence using atomic absorption spectrometry or any other method giving equivalent results. Air samples shall be collected from the breathing zone in a filter that collects at least 95% of particles with an aerodynamic diameter of 0.3 µm using a pump with an air flow rate of at least 1 l/min.
[RT I, 12.11.2020, 1 – entry into force 24 November 2020]

§ 3.  Health surveillance

 (1) An occupational doctor shall check the health of workers exposed to lead:
 1) before they commence the work in which they are exposed to lead and its ionic compounds;
 2) once a year while they are working;
 3) in other cases set out in this Regulation.

 (2) During health surveillance, the occupational doctor must have information about the concentration of lead in the air of the working environment.

 (3) The constituent parts of the health surveillance of a worker are as follows:
 1) their occupational and medical history;
 2) a medical examination during which particular attention is to be paid to the haematopoietic, gastro-intestinal, renal, and central and peripheral nervous systems, which may be affected adversely by lead;
 3) a haemogram;
[RT I, 02.04.2024, 13 – entry into force 5 April 2024]
 4) a urine dipstick test and creatinine in serum or plasma with the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR);
[RT I, 02.04.2024, 13 – entry into force 5 April 2024]
 5) providing occupational safety guidance for the worker.

 (4) Contra-indications for working with lead are:
 1) thalassaemia;
 2) G-6-PD deficiency;
 3) anaemia;
 4) renal deficiencies;
 5) hepatic deficiencies.

§ 4.  Biological monitoring

 (1) Biological monitoring shall be carried out at least once every 6 months. Biological monitoring may be carried out once a year if:
 1) the concentration of lead in the air in the two previous measurements was 75–100 µg/m3;
 2) no worker’s blood-lead level is greater than 50 µg Pb/100 ml.

 (2) A worker’s blood-lead level (B-Pb) shall be determined during biological monitoring, using absorption spectrometry or a method giving equivalent results.
[RT I, 02.04.2024, 13 – entry into force 5 April 2024]

 (21) The biological limit value for lead is 70 µg Pb per 100 ml of blood.
[RT I, 02.04.2024, 13 – entry into force 5 April 2024]

 (22) The biological limit value is the limit of the concentration in the appropriate biological medium of the relevant agent, its metabolite, or an indicator of effect.
[RT I, 02.04.2024, 13 – entry into force 5 April 2024]

 (3) [Repealed – RT I, 02.04.2024, 13 – entry into force 5 April 2024]

 (4) If the blood-lead level of a worker is greater than 40 µg Pb/100 ml, the following measures shall be taken:
[RT I, 02.04.2024, 13 – entry into force 5 April 2024]
 1) in cooperation with the occupational doctor, the employer must eliminate the causes of that indicator being exceeded;
[RT I, 02.04.2024, 13 – entry into force 5 April 2024]
 2) the worker’s blood-lead level shall be measured after 3 months;
 3) the occupational doctor may redeploy workers to work where the concentration of lead in the air of the working environment is lower;
 4) all workers working in similar conditions must undergo health surveillance.

 (5) [Repealed – RT I, 02.04.2024, 13 – entry into force 5 April 2024]

§ 5.  Increase in the concentration of lead in the air of the working environment

 (1) If the concentration of lead in the air of the working environment exceeds 75 µg/m3, the employer must:
 1) inform the workers thereof without delay;
 2) explain the reasons for the increase in the concentration of lead;
 3) arrange for biological monitoring and health surveillance of workers;
 4) take measures to reduce the concentration of lead in the air;
 5) measure the concentration of lead in the air to verify the effectiveness of the measures taken.

 (2) If it is not possible to take the measures referred to in subsection 1 within 1 month, work in the affected area may not continue until an occupational doctor considers that adequate measures have been taken to protect workers’ health.

 (3) Where there is a temporary increase in the concentration of lead in the air of the working environment as a result of a work process and if it is not possible to reduce the concentration of lead using technical means of collective protection, the employer must provider workers with appropriate personal protective equipment for temporary use and lay down the procedure for using this equipment.

 (4) In the event of an accident leading to a significant increase in the concentration of lead in the air of the working environment, the following steps shall be taken:
 1) workers must be evacuated from the affected area without delay;
 2) only workers carrying out repairs and other essential work may be permitted to enter the affected area, and they must be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment.

§ 6.  Information for workers

 (1) The employer must inform workers about:
 1) the harmful effects of lead on health, including on the foetus and on breast milk;
 2) the limit value for the concentration of lead in the air of the working environment;
[RT I, 05.12.2018, 1 – entry into force 1 January 2019]
 3) the need for biological monitoring and monitoring of the working environment;
 4) the hygiene requirements and the need to refrain from eating, drinking and smoking in the workplace;
 5) the precautions to be taken in the working environment, and the need to wear personal protective equipment and work clothing.

 (2) If the concentration of lead in the air of the working environment is greater than 75 µg/m3 over a 40-hour working week or if a worker’s blood-lead level is greater than 50 µg Pb/100 ml, the employer must inform the workers and their representatives about the concentration of lead measured in the air of the working environment and the statistical results of the biological monitoring.

§ 7.  Hygiene requirements applicable in the workplace

  If the concentration of lead in the air of the working environment in the two previous measurements was 75–100 µg/m3 or if the blood-lead level of even a single worker is greater than 50 µg Pb/100 ml, the employer must take the following measures:
 1) ban eating, drinking and smoking in the workplace;
 2) enable workers to use areas where they can rest;
 3) provide workers with drinking water;
 4) provide workers with appropriate personal protective equipment;
 5) enable work clothing and personal clothing to be stored separately;
 6) enable workers who have finished working to use a shower if dust is emitted in the workplace or if another form of dermal contamination is possible.

§ 8.  Entry into force of this Regulation

  This Regulation shall enter into force on 1 July 2000.


1Directive 2004/37/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens, mutagens or reprotoxic substances at work (Sixth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Council Directive 89/391/EEC) (OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 35), as amended by Directive 2014/27/EU (OJ L 65, 5.3.2014, p. 1), Directive (EU) 2017/2398 (OJ L 345, 27.12.2017, p. 87), Directive (EU) 2019/130 (OJ L 30, 31.1.2019, p. 112), Directive (EU) 2019/983 (OJ L 164, 20.6.2019, p. 23), Regulation (EU) 2019/1243 (OJ L 198, 25.7.2019, p. 241) and Directive (EU) 2022/431 (OJ L 88, 16.3.2022, p. 1).
[RT I, 02.04.2024, 13 – entry into force 5 April 2024]

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