Workers’ safety

Existing legislation in Europe sets Occupational Exposure Limits (OEL) for lead in the blood of employees in battery plants at 70 µg lead per dl blood (µg/dl). The European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) has proposed to decrease this limit to 15 µg/dl per exposed person.
EUROBAT is actively involved in industry efforts at lowering blood lead limits and our members are doing much more by taking the proactive initiative to voluntarily start activities to reduce their employees’ exposure.

The industry has developed guidelines to lower blood lead, known as “The EUROBAT Blood Lead Mitigation Programme”. EUROBAT adopted this mitigation programme in 2000 and revised it in 2013 and in 2017.

It is our strategic objective to minimise the lead exposure of our employees in the European Union to a level that is as low as reasonably practicable. This will be achieved through a target to reduce blood lead levels of all employees to below 25 μg/dl by the end of 2019 and below 20 μg/dl by end of 2025.

Taking into account the Derived No-Effect Level (DNEL) for lead in blood, and due to the specific sensitivity of unborn children, a specific exposure limit of 10 μg/dl applies in addition for female employees at childbearing age.

Manufacturers of lead-based batteries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa that are not yet Members of EUROBAT will also be encouraged to follow the provisions of the programme in order to ensure full industry coverage.

Blood Lead Reduction Guidelines

The basic levels of the Blood Lead Reduction Guidelines are a list of control measures that combine activities in the following areas:

Technical controls

Personal and general hygiene rules and practices

Personal protective equipment

Training and counselling

Industry experience shows that there is not a strong link between lead in blood and lead in the air. EUROBAT therefore considers all measures described in the guidelines as having equal priority.