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The dangers of lead poisoning in the workplace

Despite the fact that people are more aware now than at other times in history about the dangers of lead exposure, workers in some Louisiana professions may still be vulnerable to lead poisoning. Some of the jobs where lead exposure is most likely are plumbing, building renovation, metal scrap cutting and recycling, soldering, and demolition among others. In January, the California Department of Public Health reported that between 2012 and 2014, it found elevated levels of lead in the blood of about 6,000 workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that around 804,000 general industry workers and about 838,000 construction workers around the country might be exposed to lead. OSHA has several regulations in place to protect workers from lead exposure. Employees must be informed if they are in danger of lead exposure and given training. Employers must provide protective equipment and clothing and give employees a place to wash and change clothes when a shift ends. Employers are also required to test the blood and air for lead and have controls for lead dust and fumes.

Lead builds up in the body over time. It can damage kidneys, cognitive processes and the nervous system without symptoms in the early stages. Workers may want to discuss the possibility of exposure with employers.

People who have been exposed to a hazard in the workplace and who have developed an illness as a result are probably eligible for workers' compensation. They might face an extra hurdle if there does not appear to be a direct connection between the illness and working conditions. As a result, they might want to have legal assistance in order to ensure that the claim contains all required medical documentation.

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