Lead notifications

You must notify us if the work you do is likely to cause lead levels in a worker’s blood to exceed healthy levels.You also need to notify us if a worker needs to be removed from working with lead.

Lead risk work involves work that may cause lead levels in a worker's blood to exceed health limits.

For the period up to and including 30 June 2021 ‘lead risk work’ means blood levels at or exceeding:

  • 10 μg/dL (0.48 μmol/L) for a female of reproductive capacity
  • 30 μg/dL (1.45 μmol/L) in other cases.

From 1 July 2021 ‘lead risk work’ means:

  • 5 μg/dL (0.24 μmol/L) for a female of reproductive capacity
  • 20 μg/dL (0.97 μmol/L) in other cases.
Changes to blood-lead levels

Amendments were made to the WHS Regulation on 1 July 2019. Some of these relate to blood lead levels, with a two-year transitional period to comply with the new requirements. Lead-related amendments involve:

  • changes to the definition of lead risk work
  • the frequency with which a PCBU must conduct biological monitoring of workers who carry out lead risk work
  • reduction in blood lead levels for the immediate removal of workers from carrying out lead risk work
  • thresholds at which a PCBU may allow a worker to return to lead risk work
  • these requirements are subject to a two year transitional period from 1 July 2019 to 1 July 2021 (refer to exemption 006/19, gazetted 28 June 2019).

Refer to exemption 006/19, gazetted 28 June 2019.

Notification of lead risk work

You must assess each process that involves lead to determine whether lead risk work is being carried out.

If you cannot determine whether lead risk work is being carried out, then assume it is and notify us.

Submit the Notification of lead risk work form at least seven days before lead work begins. Each form is valid for the duration of the lead risk work.

You need to notify us if a worker needs to be removed from working with lead.

More information on this can be found in the legislation as well as in our Guide on lead notifications.

All lead notifications are free.

Health monitoring

Health monitoring must be provided to workers before lead risk work starts and one month after starting.

For workers who perform ongoing lead work, biological monitoring must be arranged in accordance with the frequencies published in the WHS Regulation.

For the period up to and including 30 June 2021

Females not of reproductive capacity and males:

  • blood lead level less than 30μg/dL (1.45μmol/L)—6 months after the last biological monitoring of the worker, or
  • blood lead level of 30μg/dL (1.45μmol/L) or more but less than 40μg/dL (1.93μmol/L)—3 months after the last biological monitoring of the worker, or
  • blood lead level of 40μg/dL (1.93μmol/L) or more—6 weeks after the last biological monitoring of the worker,

Females of reproductive capacity:

  • blood lead level of less than 10μg/dL (0.48μmol/L)—3 months after the last biological monitoring of the worker, or
  • if the last monitoring shows a blood lead level of 10μg/dL (0.48μmol/L) or more—6 weeks after the last biological monitoring of the worker.

From 1 July 2021

Females not of reproductive capacity and males:

  • if the last monitoring shows a blood lead level of less than 10µg/dL (0.48µmol/L)—6 months after the last biological monitoring of the worker, or
  • if the last monitoring shows a blood lead level of 10µg/dL (0.48µmol/L) or more but less than 20µg/dL (0.97µmol/L)—3 months after the last biological monitoring of the worker, or
  • if the last monitoring shows a blood lead level of 20µg/dL (0.97µmol/L) or more—6 weeks after the last biological monitoring of the worker.

Females of reproductive capacity:

  • if the last monitoring shows a blood lead level of less than 5µg/dL (0.24µmol/L)—3 months after the last biological monitoring of the worker
  • if the last monitoring shows a blood lead level of 5μg/dL (0.48μmol/L) or more—6 weeks after the last biological monitoring of the worker.
Removal of a worker from lead risk work

A worker must be removed from lead risk work and you must notify us when:

  • a worker's test results exceed the prescribed levels
  • test results indicate that the worker may have contracted a disease, injury or illness from working with lead
  • risk control measures have failed and remedial measures need to be taken including whether the worker can continue to carry out the work (as advised by a medical practitioner in the health monitoring report).

If a worker must be removed from doing lead work then you must complete the Notify us of the removal of a worker from lead risk work form and submit this to us.

You can also lodge the form at any of our offices.

For the period up to and including 30 June 2021

A worker must be removed at:

  • 15 μg/dL (0.72 μmol/L) for females who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • 20 μg/dL (0.97 μmol/L) for females of reproductive capacity
  • 50 μg/dL (2.42 μmol/L) for females not of reproductive capacity and males.

The worker may then only return to lead risk work if the medical practitioner is satisfied that the worker is fit to return and the worker’s blood lead level is less than:

  • 10 μg/dL (0.48 μmol/L) for females of reproductive capacity
  • 40 µg/dL (1.93µmol/L) for females not of reproductive capacity and males.

From 1 July 2021

A worker must be removed at:

  • 10 μg/dL (0.48 μmol/L) for females of reproductive capacity, or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • 30 μg/dL (1.45 μmol/L) for females not of reproductive capacity and males.

The worker may then only return to lead risk work if the medical practitioner is satisfied that the worker is fit to return and the worker’s blood lead level is less than:

  • 5 µg/dL (0.24 µmol/L) for females of reproductive capacity, or those who are pregnant o breastfeeding
  • 20 µg/dL (0.97 µmol/L) for females not of reproductive capacity and males.
Lead risk work

Lead risk work is found in various industries, including:

  • shipbuilding
  • manufacturing
  • demolition.

Examples of processes involving lead include:

  • dry lead compounds, lead batteries or pasting or casting lead
  • spraying molten lead metal or alloys containing lead metal
  • foundry process, melting or casting lead alloys
  • recovering lead ore, oxides or other compounds
  • grinding, discing, buffing or cutting alloys containing lead
  • welding, cutting or cleaning metal coated with lead or lead paint
  • radiator repairs
  • fire assays if lead, lead compounds or lead alloys are used
  • spray painting with lead paint
  • removing paint containing lead
  • handling waste containing lead
  • detonators or other explosives that contain lead
  • firing weapons at an indoor firing range
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