Lead-acid battery makers in Europe and North America have updated their voluntary blood lead mitigation programmes for employees of all their member companies.
In the announcement today at an ILA Lead Occupational Exposure Workshop, in Prague, members of Battery Council International (BCI, North America) and EUROBAT (Europe, Middle East and Africa) have committed to reduce blood lead levels for all employees below 30 microgrammes per deciliter (µg/dl) by the end of 2016.
The new objectives for improving the protection of workers is made possible by evolutions in technology, manufacturing processes and education programmes and will apply to 17,000 employees in the United States, 11,250 in the EU and 1,700 in the rest of Europe, Middle East and Africa.
ILA Managing Director, Dr Andy Bush, said: “This is an important demonstration by the lead industry’s major downstream user sector of its commitment to continuous improvement in worker protection.
“The announcement by BCI and EUROBAT also coincides with the latest initiative by ILA to promote continuous improvement in the lead industry via its international Lead Occupational Exposure Management Workshop, which is being held in Prague today.”
The Workshop is being run with the support of BCI, EUROBAT and the Association of Battery Recyclers as part of a broader initiative to bring together lead producers and downstream users to promote responsible care throughout the life cycle of lead.
The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that employees of lead-based battery manufacturing companies be removed from their jobs if their blood lead levels exceed 50 µg/dl. The BCI’s current voluntary removal level of employees is 40 µg/dl and today’s announcement will lower that level to 30 µg/dl at the end of 2016.
The European Union’s binding Biological Limit Value for Lead in Blood is 70µg/dl, while the Derived-No-Effect Level set by industry under the EU’s REACH legislation is of 40µg/dl. In the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa limits can vary per country. With today’s announcement, EUROBAT members commit to go well below this latter limit in the European Union by the end of 2016, as well as in all EMEA.
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