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. In Erie County, lead safe work practices are required.

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. Home owners and workers in Erie County must assume that any paint on pre-1978 housing has lead in it. This presumption is part of County law.

The Erie County Sanitary Code Article IX: Housing Hygiene and Property Maintenance states:

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

(i) Lead in Housing.

(1)  Presumption

For all residential properties, pre-school facilities or child care facilities constructed prior to January 1, 1978, it is presumed that the paint on any structures, equipment, exterior property, premises, dwellings, dwelling units, or parts thereof is lead based paint. 

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 when working around lead. 

You can protect yourself and your family from dangerous lead hazards by 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  

The Erie County Sanitary Code Article IX: Housing Hygiene and Property Maintenance defines “Lead Safe Work Practices” as follows: 

From Section 1.7:  Definitions

(ee)  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 or as approved by the Erie County Commissioner of Health.  These work methods are intended to limit the exposure of workers and occupants to lead dust and debris during correction and control of lead hazards and during regular maintenance, painting or renovation performed in housing constructed prior to January 1, 1978. These methods include, but are not limited to:

(1) Interior Containment:

(i) Removing all objects in the work area or covering all objects in the work area with plastic sheeting or other disposable impermeable material.

(ii) Closing and covering all forced air HVAC ducts in the work area with plastic sheeting or other disposable impermeable material.

(iii) Closing all windows in the work area.

(iv) Covering the floor surface, including installed carpet, in the work area with taped-down plastic sheeting or other disposable impermeable material.     

(2) Exterior Containment:

(i)Covering the ground with plastic sheeting or other disposable impermeable material extending 10 feet beyond the perimeter of surfaces undergoing renovation or a sufficient distance to collect falling paint debris, whichever is greater.

(ii) Closing all doors and windows within 20 feet of the renovation. On multi-story buildings, close all doors and windows within 20 feet of the renovation on the same floor as the renovation, and close all doors and windows on all floors below that are the same horizontal distance from the renovation.

(iii) Taking additional precautions in containing the designated work area to ensure that dust and debris from the renovation does not contaminate other buildings or other areas of the property or migrate to adjacent properties, as needed.

(iv) Avoiding working in high winds whenever possible to keep dust and debris from migrating from designated work area to adjacent properties.

(3) General Minimization of Exposure to Lead Dust and Debris:

(i) 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.

(ii) Wet scraping of deteriorated painted surfaces.

(iii) Thorough cleaning, including HEPA vacuuming and wet cleaning of work area, to remove any dust residue.

(iv) 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” when performing general maintenance of pre-1978 housing and when correcting conditions conducive to lead poisoning that have been identified by the Erie County Health Department as follows: 

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

(a) General.  Every foundation, roof and exterior wall, door, skylight and window shall be reasonably weather-tight, watertight, and damp-free and shall be kept in sound condition and good repair.  Floors, interior walls, doors and ceilings shall be sound and in good repair.  All exterior wood surfaces other than decay resistant woods shall be protected from the elements and decay by paint or other protective covering or treatment.  Lead based and other toxic paints and materials shall not be used on any surface.  Walls shall be capable of affording privacy for the occupants.  Every premise shall be maintained in a clean, sanitary and safe condition.  The presence of noxious weeds shall be prohibited.

(1) Maintenance in housing constructed prior to January 1, 1978. Whenever routine maintenance, painting or renovation is performed in housing constructed prior to January 1, 1978, lead safe work practices approved by the Erie County Commissioner of Health shall be followed. Lead safe work practices include (but are not limited to):

(i) Interior Containment of dust and debris in designated work area. Dust and debris shall not migrate outside of designated work area or contaminate other areas of the dwelling.

(ii) Exterior containment of dust and debris in designated work area. Dust and debris shall not migrate outside the designated work area or contaminate adjacent property.

(iii) General Minimization of Exposure to Lead Dust and Debris:

(a) Wet scraping of deteriorated painted surfaces.

(b) Thorough cleaning, including HEPA vacuuming and wet cleaning of designated work area, to remove any dust residue. 

(i) Lead in Housing.

(3)   Owner’s Duty to Correct

(i) 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 an identified or presumed lead hazard using Lead Safe Work Practices, as approved by the Erie County Commissioner of Health.  These work methods are intended to limit the exposure of workers and occupants to lead dust and debris during correction and control of lead hazards and during regular maintenance, painting or renovation performed in housing constructed prior to January 1, 1978.

(a) All correction and control of lead hazards and regular maintenance, painting or renovation performed in housing constructed prior to January 1, 1978 must be performed by an individual certified by the EPA or who possesses other lead safe certification as approved by the Erie County Commissioner of Health.  

There are certain types of painted building components in pre-1978 housing that, when deteriorated or damaged, are particularly likely to produce dangerous lead dust. These components, known as “friction and impact surfaces,” frequently contribute to lead poisoning.

Examples of building components that may contain friction or impact surfaces include the following:

(a) Window systems;

(b)  Doors;

(c)  Stair treads and risers;

(d) Porches, decks, interior floors, and any other painted surfaces that are abraded, rubbed, or impacted. 

The Erie County Sanitary Code also requires the use of “Lead Safe Work Practices” when performing general maintenance on friction and impact surfaces in pre-1978 housing.

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

(b) Windows, doors and hatchways.  Every window, exterior door and basement hatchway or similar devices, shall be kept rodent-proof and reasonably watertight and weather-tight, and shall be kept in sound working condition and good repair.  All exterior doors shall have properly functioning locking devices that shall be operable from the interior side of the door.  All deadbolt type locking mechanisms shall be of the thumb latch style or equivalent on the inside of the exterior door(s), a key operated style on both sides is not acceptable.

(1) Maintenance of friction and impact surfaces in housing constructed prior to January 1, 1978. Whenever routine maintenance, painting, renovation, repair or replacement of friction and impact surfaces, including but not limited to certain window and door components, is performed in housing constructed prior to January 1, 1978, lead safe work practices, as approved by the Erie County Commissioner of Health, shall be followed. These work methods are intended to limit the exposure of workers and occupants to lead dust and debris. 

(d) Safety. 

(1) Stairways, decks, porches and balconies.  Every stairway, deck, porch and balcony, and all appurtenances attached there to, shall be maintained structurally sound, in good repair, with proper anchorage and capable of supporting the imposed loads

(i) Handrails required.  Handrails shall be provided on at least one side of each stairway with three or more risers at an approved height.

(ii) Guards required.  Porches, balconies or raised floor surfaces located more than 30 inches above the floor or grade below shall have guards not less than 36 inches in height.  Open sides of stairs with a total rise of more than 30 inches above the floor or grade below or more than four risers shall have guards.

(iii) Maintenance of friction and impact surfaces in housing constructed prior to January 1, 1978. Whenever routine maintenance, painting, renovation, repair or replacement of friction and impact surfaces, including but not limited to porch floors, stair treads and stair risers, is performed in housing constructed prior to January 1, 1978, lead safe work practices, as approved by the Erie County Commissioner of Health, shall be followed. These work methods are intended to limit the exposure of workers and occupants to lead dust and debris. 

Resources

Contact

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