What are ‘Lead Safe Work Practices’? Do I have to use them?

“Lead Safe Work Practices” are how workers or do-it-yourself homeowners can keep themselves and other family members or occupants safe from lead exposure when remodeling or making repairs in pre-1978 housing. 

Lead was not banned from residential paint until 1978, so it is extremely likely that any home built before 1978 has some lead paint on it. The older the home, the more likely there is lead. When remodeling or repair work disturbs lead paint, it creates a dangerous lead dust hazard. Only a very small amount of lead dust is needed to poison a child. A child’s developing brain and nervous system are especially vulnerable to lead’s toxicity. An adult can also be poisoned if he or she doesn’t take precautions. 

The Erie County Sanitary Code defines “Lead Safe Work Practices” as follows: 

From Section 1.7:  Definitions

(y) LEAD SAFE WORK PRACTICES shall mean the method by which all lead hazard control activities are performed.  This includes, but is not limited to, implementing those dust control and clean-up methods discussed in the EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.  These methods include, but are not limited to:

  1. Removing or covering all objects in the work area.
  2. Closing and covering all forced air HVAC ducts in the work area.
  3. Closing all windows in the work area.
  4. Closing and sealing all doors in the work area. Doors within the work area that must be used while the job is being performed must be covered with plastic sheeting or other impermeable material in a manner that allows workers to pass through, while confining dust and debris to the work area.
  5. Covering the floor surface, including installed carpet, with taped-down plastic sheeting in the work area.
  6. All personnel, tools, and other items, including the exterior of containers of waste, must be free of dust and debris when leaving the work area. 

The Erie County Sanitary Code requires the use of “Lead Safe Work Practices” as follows: 

From Section 1.22: General Requirements Relating to Safe and Sanitary Property Maintenance

(h) Lead in Housing.

(3) Owner’s Duty to Correct 

(b) The owner of any structures, equipment, exterior property, premises, dwellings, dwelling units, or parts thereof shall take action to prevent the occurrence of conditions conducive to lead poisoning and shall expeditiously correct a(n) identified or presumed lead hazard using Lead Safe Work Practices.  

Erie County offers free classes on Lead Safe Work Practices. For more information on Class Schedule & Registration, please click here: Lead Safe Work Practices Training for Homeowners 


Phone: (716) 858-7690

Fax: (716) 858-8701

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH)
95 Franklin Street
Buffalo, New York 14202

ECDOH Locations

Western New York 211