Trusted trader schemes are a welcome service to protect consumers
who might otherwise be conned by rogue and incompetent tradesmen. But when it comes to evaluating their contribution to improving
health and safety performance this is not the case.
A paper-based, tick-box 'sign here' approach to ensuring health and safety performance on-site does little
to provide the real reassurance and protection that consumers could reasonably expect from competent tradesmen and the trusted
trader schemes to which they belong.
Even with site audits, lead paint hazards and contamination risks tend to be invisible and cannot be detected by
visual inspection alone.
paintwork has a lead content, which means that most of the work involving the disturbance of lead-containing paint can create
a 'significant' exposure risk. Ask your tradesman's scheme operator if members are vetted to ensure they meet
any of the various mandatory requirements for 'significantly' exposed workers, including:
a) Considering the amount of lead involved, whether by DIY paint test or
XRF-i lead survey
b) Regular, quarterly monitoring
of blood lead levels
c) Information, instruction
d) Personal air monitoring
If the tradesman of your choice uses a 'George' or 'Henry'-type
vacuum cleaner, the chances are they do not know enough about lead hazards to protect your family or themselves. They should
be using hazardous dust rated 'HEPA' vacuum extraction for dust-producing power tools and for final clean-up.
And, if you are somehow persuaded to "carry on as normal", at the
very least make an effort to clean up thoroughly and take dust wipe samples to confirm that any residual lead contamination
levels are within 'acceptable' limits.
Remember, there is no safe level of lead exposure - especially where children are concerned.