At its February 15, 2024 Board Meeting, the California Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Standards Board approved significant revisions to their lead standards, General Industry and Construction Safety Orders. The revised standards were created with an emphasis on aligning permissible airborne exposure levels to the current elevated blood lead level, 10 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dl), which was previously 40 µg/dl. The revised standards become effective January 1, 2025, provided there is a favorable analysis by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL). The new lead Action Level (AL) is near background levels and will require employers and facility operators to reassess work practices potentially disturbing lead and implement the appropriate controls, training, and personal protective equipment. The new lead standards can be viewed here, and the most notable changes are summarized below:

  • Lowers the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) from 50 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) of air to 10 µg/m3
  • Lowers the Action Level (AL) from 30 µg/m3 of air to 2 µg/m3
  • Lowers the Medical Removal threshold from one blood lead test at or above 50 µg/dl to any of the following:
  • One blood lead test at or above 30 µg/dl
  • Two consecutive blood tests at or above 20 µg/dl
  • The average of blood lead tests in a six-month period at or above 20 µg/dl 
  • Requires a written Elevated Blood Lead Level Response Plan to reduce and maintain employee blood lead levels below 10 µg/dl
  • Updates requirements for Hygiene Facilities and Practices to reduce lead ingestion and cross-contamination

PRISM will continue to monitor the OSH Standards Board and keep members informed of regulatory changes. Upon OAL approval, PRISM will further breakdown changes to the lead standards and provide resources. For questions about this blog please contact John Nichols at