Innovative ways to manage lead exposures at H. J. Enthoven & Sons
As legislation inevitably catches up with the science of human health effects, what are the challenges faced by the lead industry for managing blood lead levels of workers as we move into a new decade?
H. J. Enthoven & Sons (HJE), part of the Ecobat Technologies Ltd group, is one company part of an entire industry which adheres to regulatory compliance concerning lead levels. However, HJE is proud to demonstrate a continual reduction in blood lead levels in our workforce. It is an essential part of HJE’s mission which places the protection of our workers and the environment we work in at the centre of our everyday activities. Through several innovative technology developments, our company has set new records for blood lead control.
As a member of the International Lead Association, which sets blood lead exposure limits for the industry membership, we take part in the ILA’s biennial blood lead workshops. These are a great opportunity for the industry to come together and share best practice in meeting these critical limits. At the most recent workshop, held at Pb2019 in Madrid, HJE shared the innovative developments we have introduced in our workplace.
At HJE our approach has been to make positive changes at site, group, regulatory and industry level. Key investments in respiratory protection, improved education supported by strong mentoring and enhanced medical support combined with financial incentives has ensured the HJE workforce and the surrounding environment remains protected.
However, technological advancements set new challenges for the industry – continued aims to reduce worker blood lead levels requires continued innovation in technologies to facilitate this. The strive to improve year upon year pushes the boundaries of Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) development, but HJE has stepped up to the challenge and is in fact known as having set a benchmark for the industry.
One example of the many innovative ways in which we do this is a recently launched trial of a Respirator Communication Technology. Introduced this year, it aims to protect workers involved in vital communications in the workplace, which has been identified as a possible problem-point in relation to increased blood lead levels.
Visors are worn by every staff member at HJE. However, for staff members required to communicate throughout the day and across the workforce, the impact of a visor on hearing ability means visors are often lifted, resulting in decreased level of protection.
The introduction of a respirator helmet (pictured below) aims to overcome this challenge by providing dual protection for blood lead levels and hearing. The helmet pairs the latest respiration protection with microphones and ear-pieces to allow staff communication and direct plug-in to site phones without having the lift the visor.
HJE shares a common purpose with ILA and the rest of its membership in working towards a sustainable future for the industry by effectively managing the issues associated with the safe production, handling and use of lead.
The work is ongoing – current industry discussions include planning for the next decade and shaping the future. With much regulatory change on the horizon in that time, the industry will need to step up investment, time and resource in blood lead control in order to meet objectives. HJE hopes that by sharing our experiences of success, we can be a collective catalyst for the breadth of experts in our field. As part of an industry committed to ILA’s goals of reducing worker blood levels in a sustainable way, we will continue to push HSE boundaries in the future to safeguarding human health while minimising operational impact on the natural environment.