QLD: Compliance for Workers Handling Lead

Workplace Health and Safety QLD has advised that there are a number of changes to the laws for working with lead under nationally harmonised work health and safety legislation.

As well as lead laws now applying to more workplaces, they include new blood lead levels and changes to the notification requirements.

Working with lead laws apply to workplaces that:

  • hand grind and finish lead or alloys
  • melt lead metal or alloys
  • abrasive blast, water blast, or use other power tools, to remove lead paint
  • manufacture or test detonators or other explosives that contain lead
  • fire weapons at an indoor firing range
  • use foundry processes involving lead alloys containing more than 1% by weight of lead.

Blood lead levels are proscribed for:

  • determining lead-risk work
  • establishing the frequency of biological monitoring for workers
  • removing a worker from lead-risk work
  • returning to work after being removed from lead-risk work.

lead-risk work means work carried out in a lead process that is likely to cause the blood lead level of a worker carrying out the work to be more than:

  • 10 μg/dL (0.48 μmol/L) for a female of reproductive capacity; or
  • 30 μg/dL (1.45 μmol/L) in any other case.

The meaning of a lead process is set out in regulation 392. Lead is defined in schedule 19 of the regulation as meaning lead metal, lead alloys, inorganic lead compounds, and lead salts of organic acids.

A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must notify Workplace Health and Safety Queensland when:

  • lead-risk work is being carried out at a workplace
  • a worker is removed from carrying out lead-risk work.

Further information

To notify WHSQ of lead-risk work in your workplace, use Form 23 – Notification relating to lead-risk work (PDF, 72 kB) to notify WHSQ.

For more information on the requirements for working with lead, visit www.worksafe.qld.gov.au or call the WHS Infoline on 1300 369 915.

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