Anticipating Regulatory Changes in California’s Title 8 Lead Standards

California is on the brink of implementing significant updates to its Title 8 lead standards, impacting construction and general industry standards. While these changes are not yet active, they are clearly visible on the horizon. Training and educating our industry is important to prepare for these changes at NATEC International, Inc.

The process leading up to these changes has been thorough, beginning with a public hearing held on April 20, 2023. Stakeholders had the opportunity to comment during a 45-day period starting March 3, 2023, followed by two subsequent 15-day notice periods to refine the proposals further based on public and expert feedback.

On February 15, 2024, the California Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board approved the proposed changes in a 5-2 vote. These updates affect construction industry under 8 C.C.R. section 1532.1 and general industry under 8 C.C.R. section 5198. Although there are coalitions and groups fighting the proposed changes, currently the changes are under review by the Office of Administrative Law and per Deputy Chief for Health, Eric Berg, anticipated to be effective January 1, 2025. Employers-be ready and be prepared.


  • Anticipated Effective Date: January 1, 2025
  • Significantly reducing lead exposure limits. The permissible exposure limit (PEL) for lead is set to decrease by 80%, from 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air to just 10 µg/m3.
  • Significantly reducing action levels. The action level (AL) will see a 93% reduction, moving from 30 µg/m3 to a mere 2 µg/m3.
  • Higher than CDPH. The proposed changes set the permissible exposure limit (PEL) and action level (AL) for lead higher than what the California Department of Public Health had recommended.
  • PEL and AL New Reduced Thresholds will trigger multiple requirements for employers. This includes written compliance program, exposure monitoring and medical surveillance. 
  • Air Monitoring More Stringent. Employers not previously subject to Cal/OSHA’s lead requirements should conduct air monitoring to see if employee exposure levels are above the new limits.
  • Expanded Training & Education Programs. Cal/OSHA expands the reach of employers now required to provide training due to the stricter guidelines. These should encompass trainings on the health implications of lead, appropriate handling techniques, and the correct usage of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Below is a summary of the key elements of the regulation:

Exposure Assessment and Monitoring: 
If employers fail to assess and determine actual employee exposure levels, they must provide interim protection. This protection includes respiratory protection, protective clothing and equipment, medical surveillance, training, and the posting of warning signs. The frequency of monitoring is determined by the levels of exposure.

Medical Surveillance Program:
Should employees potentially or actually be exposed at or above the action level (AL), the employer is required to implement a medical surveillance program. This program must provide all necessary medical examinations and procedures at no cost to the employees, and these must be conducted at a time and place that is convenient for the employees.

Medical Removal Protection:
Employees whose blood tests indicate exposure at or above the action level (AL) must be temporarily removed from their work environment. These employees are entitled to “medical removal protection benefits,” ensuring they do not suffer loss of earnings, seniority, or other employment rights during this period.

Trigger Tasks:

The regulation adds and defines the terms “level 1 trigger task,” “level 2 trigger task,” “level 3 trigger task,” and “trigger task – not listed,” which, until an employee exposure assessment is completed, assumes a certain level of employee exposure and triggers certain required protective measures(see subsection (b) for definitions), and revising the listing of specified tasks (subsection (d)(2)).

To read the full proposed changes, go to: Lead Proposed Text ( or download them at NATEC International, Inc.’s site here: .

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