The assessment of worker exposures to airborne contaminants in the dynamic environment present at most construction sites poses considerable challenges to the industrial hygienist. In this study, we applied a task-based approach to the assessment of lead exposure among structural steel iron workers engaged in a large, complex bridge rehabilitation project. We evaluated the usefulness of task-based exposure data for the development of worker protection programs. Task-specific and multitask samples were collected, and operation-specific and 8-hr time-weighted averages were calculated. The task-specific data showed significant differences in exposure levels among different tasks. Arithmetic mean exposures varied from 1,357 micrograms/m3 lead for torch cutting and 989 micrograms/m3 for scaling to 31 micrograms/m3 for reaming and 4 micrograms/m3 for drilling. Our task-specific data were compared with the task-based exposure levels presented by OSHA in its Lead Exposure in Construction-Interim Final Rule (29 CFR 1926). There was good general agreement between our results and OSHA's reported data. Task-based data were very useful in exposure assessment and much more precise than full-shift and operation-based measurements in guiding strategies for worker protection. These findings suggest that task-based data should routinely be collected in evaluating exposure to lead and perhaps other toxic substances in construction work.