You may already be aware of, or been part of, our Toolbox Talks: information and guidance we offer for customers on all aspects of working with lead. We thought it would be useful to include summaries in our newsletter going forward so this valuable information reaches an even wider audience. For the first of our Toolbox Talks we have provided a straightforward guide for all those working with our products on the safest ways to handle lead.
It is important not to become complacent when it comes to lead handling as exposure to airborne lead fumes or dust can be harmful to health. But by following basic guidelines the health of anyone manufacturing or installing lead sheet products can easily be guarded against these risks.
Here at Midland Lead we work hard within the organisation to ensure best practices when handling lead are adhered to, we also encourage all our customers and contractors to follow these guidelines to remain safe and healthy.
First of all, when transporting lead on to site it is vital to remember that the density of lead means that even the smallest of lead rolls can be very heavy. Unless you’re absolutely certain that you can lift a roll of lead without undue effort then do not attempt to do so on your own. If you’re unsure at all, either ask another person to assist and insert a strong steel bar through the roll then lift or use approved mechanical handling equipment.
When it comes to working with lead our top tips include:
- Wear protective gloves at all times while handling lead to protect from both lead dust particles and sharp edges
- Never eat, drink or smoke while working with lead and make sure hands and face are washed thoroughly before eating, drinking or smoking
- Wear clean workwear every day – consider items of clothing such as hats, which may allow lead dust to build up over a period of time if unwashed
- Remove workwear before leaving the site, avoid taking it home and wash separately to other clothing
- Wear the appropriate ‘face-fit tested’ and properly maintained respiratory equipment and/or apply the correct ventilation; speak to your employer or health and safety representative
- Avoid putting hands near your face or mouth
- Don’t bite your fingernails
- Avoid holding copper nails in your mouth while fixing lead
- Avoid food that you need to use your hands to eat, for example use a fork to eat or wrap sandwiches in something so you can avoid touching them, such as tin foil
- Roll cigarettes at home before coming to work
- Ensure any drinks have lids on them – don’t drink out of open cups or cans which can be left lying around and become contaminated with lead dust
- If you are working on a site and do not have access to water for washing you should ask your employer to supply a suitable alternative such as heavy duty hand wipes.
If you would like to arrange a Toolbox Talk, please contact us on 01283 224 555