Lead poisoning is an important concern for Laborers who do demolition and remediation work, mainly because older buildings were usually coated with toxic, lead-based paints. 

Although a potentially serious problem for Laborers, lead dangers may be even worse for their children, who can be exposed through minute dust particles carried home on hands and work clothes. Lead poisoning can severely inhibit childhood development.

Alerts to this hazard are frequently sounded in training classes and at toolbox talks, but a new video – available through eLCOSH, the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health – is certainly more motivational than most other instructional aids. Produced by the California Department of Public Health and directed by Abby Ginzberg, Lead’s Revenge is one of the most creative construction safety videos ever produced.

“This short, innovative movie…painlessly educates workers and contractors on the hazards of lead, the dangers of exposing family members to lead and the availability of solutions,” says the CPWR – the Center for Construction Research and Training’s Director of Communications, Mary Watters, who is promoting the video. “The ease of message delivery is extremely effective.”

As the eLCOSH online review notes, “The DVD uses a ‘novella’ format for both English and Spanish speakers, without the use of subtitles. Mixing factual information with humor, the video [presents] several key messages in an engaging way:

  • Lead dust is an invisible danger that can transfer easily from a worker/employer to a child.
  • Routine blood lead tests for workers/employers at risk and family members at risk are important.
  • Containing, controlling and cleaning up lead paint dust are part of a lead-safe painting and construction job – and it doesn’t have to be expensive.”

The integration of English and Spanish is seamless; a speaker of either will grasp the entire story without encountering frustrating pauses for translation. Indeed, the integration of the two languages is so well-woven that it augments the video’s quality, adding genuine depth while also portraying the multicultural quality of today’s construction worksites.

he novella format makes a story out of the instruction, which certainly makes it more engaging and compelling. The humanity and humor is genuine and refreshing, and the acting – the contractor, his crew, his wife and his daughter – is excellent.

Lead’s Revenge is the cutting edge of construction training videos. Even if you don’t train workers about lead dangers, if you train workers or develop training materials, this training tool will inspire your efforts.

More information on lead safety is available from the California Lead-Related Construction Program.

[Steve Clark]