Hot work is one of the most common ways workers suffer lead poisoning on a construction site. As metal is heated, cut, or sanded, lead dust and fumes can be released into the air—and into an employee’s eyes, lungs, or mouth. New York State sets specific rules to prevent lead poisoning in heating and cutting operations, giving workers the right to file claims when these injuries occur.

New York Regulations for Lead Fumes and Dust on Construction Sites

Under Section 241(6) of NY Labor Law 241, site owners and contractors must comply with any rules made by the Commissioner of the Construction Worker Cutting MetalDepartment of Labor to make construction sites as safe as possible for workers. The Department of Labor has since created Part 23 of the New York Industrial Code, which specifically includes rules for reducing lead injuries.

Under Part 23-1.26, all hot riveting, welding, flame-cutting, and flame-cleaning of structural steel or other metals coated with a compound containing lead or substances which may release toxic fumes when heated must be performed in the following manner:

  • Hot riveting or welding. If hot riveting or welding is to be performed in a confined space, all surfaces and rivet holes shall be free from any compound containing lead or from any other toxic substance which may be released when heated.
  • Cleaning coated surfaces. Any person cleaning by torch, scraping, or grinding must be provided with an approved respirator. Paint from rivet holes must be removed by means of reaming or other suitable method, and all surfaces adjoining rivet holes must be cleaned to prevent the creation of toxic and noxious fumes (without or welding).
  • Flame-cleaning or flame-cutting operations. Any person performing or located within a radius of 15 feet of flame-cleaning or flame-cutting operations on metals that may contain lead or toxic substances must be provided with an approved respirator unless suitable local exhaust ventilation is provided.

If you or someone you love was hurt while working on a New York City construction site, our experienced construction injury law firm can determine what you and your family may be owed—and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Learn more about your rights in our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone, or fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today.


Timothy F. Schweitzer
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Personal injury lawyer specializing in maritime, construction and railroad injury claims.