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The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries held the first of three public stakeholder meetings Friday on its proposal to improve the state’s occupational lead standards, according to the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
The state is updating the current lead standards, adopted more than 40 years ago, to include lead exposure levels, communication plans, medical benefits for exposed workers and personal protective equipment requirements. The agency first began its rulemaking on these updated changes in 2016, but did not release its draft rule until this month.
Some of the proposed changes to the rule include requiring disclosure of the potential for lead-containing materials prior to bidding or contracting for work on a job site, provide blood lead testing for any activity covered by a presumed exposure level, when requested and provide medical removal benefits and remove workers from lead exposure areas if requested by a physician or if blood levels show a risk to the worker from lead exposure.
The draft rule also requires employers to provide basic training to workers on protecting themselves from lead exposure and develop a written respirator program and exposure control plan.
The second meeting on the proposed lead changes will be July 24.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Wednesday that would cover cancer and other illnesses under presumption for former workers of the decommissioned Hanford nuclear site in Hanford, Washington.