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30. Prevention of lead poisoning, etc.

  Lead and lead compounds that are widely used in alloys, pigments, storage batteries, etc., cause acute or chronic poisoning if they are ingested.
  In Japan, instances of lead poisoning have sharply decreased, but the results of specific health examinations of workers still show abnormal findings. To prevent lead poisoning, employers are obliged to do the following:
(The Ordinance on Prevention of Lead Poisoning)
1. Lead, etc. to be controlled (Ordinance, Article 1)

a. Lead, lead alloys (alloys containing 10 wt% or more of lead), and mixtures consisting of these and others
b. Sintered ores, flue cinder, etc. generated by lead smelting or refining processes
2. Types of lead-handling work (Ordinance, Article 1)
  Work involving the handling of lead generally includes the following:

a. Handling sintered ores, etc. in the process of smelting or refining lead, copper, or zinc
b. Producing or repairing lead storage batteries or their parts
c. Melting or encasing lead in the process of producing electric wires, cables, etc.
d. Producing a lead alloy, or producing or repairing lead alloy products
e. Melting, casting, or grinding in the process of producing a lead compound
f. Lining lead
g. Melting, casting, or grinding in a process for producing a rubber, synthetic resin product, lead-containing paint, or lead compound-containing color, agricultural chemical, adhesive, etc.
h. Soldering where natural ventilation is insufficient
i. Painting using a lead compound-containing color
j. Hardening or tempering metals using molten lead
k. Cleaning any of the above places, transfer paper production processes, or in a workplace for type-picking, typesetting or type distribution
   The work for painting using a stamp, which has been recognized by the Chief of the competent Labour Standards Inspection Office as being free from the possibility of health hazards, can be exempt from the application of the law (Ordinance, Article 2)
3. Equipment measures (Ordinance, Articles 5 to 20)

a. Equipment for enclosing the emission of dust
b. Local exhaust equipment
c. Equipment or containers for receiving dust where a method other than a wet method is used for operations
d. Dust collectors
4. Management

a. Appointment of an operations chief of lead-handling work (Ordinance, Article 33)
b. Periodic voluntary inspection of local exhaust equipment, dust collectors, etc. (Ordinance, Articles 35 and 36)
Equipment should be voluntarily inspected at least once a year, and the records, including the state of repairs, should be preserved for three years.
c. When letting workers work temporarily under hoppers, employers should let them use respiratory protective equipment. (Ordinance, Article 39)
d. Provision of a resting place, etc.
(a) Resting room (Ordinance, Article 45)
(b) Storage place for respiratory protective equipment and protective clothing (Ordinance, Article 46)
(c) Body-washing facility (Ordinance, Article 47)
(d) Vacuum cleaner (Ordinance, Article 48)
(e) Detergent solution for hand-washing (Ordinance, Article 49)
e. Inhibition of smoking (Ordinance, Article 50)
f. Measurement of the working environment
(a) In each place of lead-handling work, the lead concentration in the air should be measured at least once a year, and the records should be preserved for three years. (Ordinance, Article 52)
(b) Measurement results should be evaluated in accordance with a specific standard, and equipment, work processes, and working methods should be improved. (Ordinance, Article 52-3)
g. Health care
(a) Specific health examinations should be carried out at least every six months for workers engaged in lead-handling work, and at least every year for workers engaged in cleaning work. The results should be preserved for five years. (Ordinance, Articles 53 and 54)
(b) The results of specific health examinations should be reported to the Chief of the competent Labour Standards Inspection Office concerned. (Ordinance, Article 55)

(The next article in this series covers the prevention of health hazards due to ionizing radiation.)