The control of lead at work regulations 2002, (known as ‘claw’), came into force on 21st November 2002. Claw 2002 contains the provisions of the control of lead at work regulations 1980 and 1998 (now revoked).
The importance of claw compliance can be best appreciated with an understanding of what is considered to be ‘significant’ exposure, as defined in the regulations:
“significant” in relation to exposure to lead means exposure in the following circumstances (a) where any employee is or is liable to be exposed to a concentration of lead in the atmosphere exceeding half the occupational exposure limit for lead; (b) where there is a substantial risk of any employee ingesting lead.
The claw acop explains: “lead can be present in two forms: fume, generated at temperatures greater than 500°c, and dust. Occupational exposure to lead is dependent not only on the concentrations of lead in workplace air but also on the personal hygiene and personal habits of the worker.
Any construction work or process involving lead which produces dust or fume can result in inhalation of lead, e.g. cutting, grinding, sanding, paint stripping and burning. However, every process/job involving lead (and its compounds) in any way can also give rise to exposure by ingestion.