Personal Injury

Firing range faces steep fines for exposing workers to lead hazards

firing range 280x210 Firing range faces steep fines for exposing workers to lead hazardsTap Rack Bang Indoor Shooting Range LLC in Killeen, Texas, faces up to $214,387 in penalties by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for exposing workers to unsafe levels of lead.

OSHA investigated the firing range, which does business in Killeen as The Gun Range, after receiving a complaint of worker exposure to lead during firing range activities. During its inspection, OSHA officials found airborne lead exceeding the permissible exposure limit, and lead contamination throughout the facility.

The company was cited for failing to replace damaged personal protective equipment, not medically monitoring employees for lead-related illnesses; and for sweeping up lead debris rather than using vacuum methods with high-efficiency particulate air filters.

Lead exposure can be a health hazard at shooting ranges unless precautions are taken. For example, when fired, lead bullets produce gun smoke that contains lead dust and fumes. Target areas can also cause lead bullets to break apart and release lead dust. Handling spent cartridges can cause lead dust to get on hands.

Dry sweeping without high-efficiency particulate air filters will release lead dust into the air. Even changing ventilation system filters and vacuum bags can release lead dust. Lead that get on hands, clothing, or surfaces can contaminate food and lead to ingestion.

Lead can get into the bloodstream if inhaled or ingested, and can damage various organs and cause health problems. For this reason, OSHA requires shooting ranges to monitor their facilities to ensure workplace health and safety hazards are controlled. OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Lead addresses lead hazards in the workplace, and inspections focus on hygiene facilities, engineering controls, respiratory protection, exposure monitoring, and medical surveillance.

The Gun Range has 15 working days to comply, request a conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before an independent board.

Source: OSHA