Skip to content

Cal/OSHA Standards Board Approves Revisions to State Lead Standards

Proposed changes to California’s lead standards were approved by the Cal/OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board on Feb. 15, lowering the state’s permissible exposure limit for lead from 50 µg/mg3 to 10 µg/mg3 as an eight-hour time-weighted average and its action level from 30 µg/mg3 to 2 µg/mg3 (eight-hour TWA). According to a summary on the website of the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), the proposed rule was designed to maintain workers’ blood lead levels (BLLs) below 10 µg/dL, four times lower than the target for existing lead regulations.

The Standards Board’s approval sends the proposal to the state’s Office of Administrative Law for final approval. The rule is not expected to become effective before Jan. 1, 2025.

The proposal establishes general hygiene requirements whenever workers are exposed to lead. Under the existing lead rule, hygiene requirements are mandated only when workers’ exposures exceed the permissible exposure limit.

Other changes include lowering the criteria for temporary removal from work with lead, known as medical removal protection, or MRP. Under the proposed rule, MRP would be triggered by one BLL reading of 30 µg/dL, down from 50 µg/dL in the current rule. Beginning one year after the proposed rule’s effective date, MRP will be triggered when a worker’s last two BLLs are at least 20 µg/dL or when the average of all BLLs in the last six months is at least 20 µg/dL. Workers’ BLLs must be at least 15 µg/dL before they can return to work involving lead. The current requirement for returning to work is 40 µg/dL.

The text of the proposal and other rulemaking documents are available from DIR.

Related: Read more about efforts at the federal and state levels to update lead standards in The Synergist.

Information provided by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)

Share This Resource

Related Articles

By Alden Strealy, MS, CIH, SCP, AGC Director of Safety Services In 2023, a 26-year-old temporary worker died after working outside on his first day...
Information provided by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries Construction contractors are reporting that scammers falsely claiming to be from L&I are demanding...
June marks a special occasion in the construction industry as we celebrate Safety Month, an important time dedicated to reinforcing our commitment to maintaining a...