Lead contamination is always a cause for concern as lead is a dangerous and toxic substance that can have a severe and long-lasting impact on a person’s health and in some cases can even be fatal.
At Accident Advice Helpline we see many cases of lead poisoning claims and as such know the importance for employers to protect their staff against work lead contamination.
Lead is a strong poison, it is highly toxic and difficult to detect, given that you cannot taste, smell or see it with the naked eye. Though it usually takes months or even years for lead poisoning to occur, it can cause severe and irreparable physical and mental injuries.
Causes of lead poisoning and contamination
In order for poisoning to occur lead needs to be ingested or breathed in through dust. Though we now see the dangers of using lead, it can still be found in many places, including:
- In older houses lead used to be one of the most common materials to use in the building of houses
- House paint that is dated before 1978
- Old toys and household items
- Pipes and sink faucets, these can contaminate the drinking water
- Some toys or household items that have been painted outside of more developed countries, such as the UK or US
- Soil that has been polluted by a car exhaust
- Art supplies and paint
- Lead figures, pottery and jewellery
- Some traditional ethnic medicines
Preventing lead contamination
Work lead contamination and poisoning can easily be prevented by employers by doing a few simple things:
- Keeping the work space free from dust particles
- Have the water tested to see if there is any lead present
- Make sure any contractors used are certified in lead control
- Use lead-free paint to decorate the work space
- Make sure all faucets and aerators are cleaned properly
- Encourage hand washing
It is the responsibility of the managers of a business to ensure that their staff and anyone else using their work-space are fully protected against lead contamination and poisoning.
If they fail to do so and a worker or someone else using the space regularly is diagnosed with lead poisoning then the company could be held liable to pay compensation. The level of compensation awarded will depend on the level of injury sustained.
Eligibility to claim compensation for lead poisoning depends upon you being without fault in your being exposed to lead. If you are exposed to lead at work and become contaminated, your employer may be held responsible. For more information or to see if you are eligible to claim, call Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500.
Date Published: August 10, 2015
Author: Rob Steen