OSHA May Fine Indoor Shooting Range $111K for Lead Exposure
Why you may need D-Lead® EPA-Approved Lead Detection Kits and D-Lead® Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner for the Removal of Lead Dust
OSHA (Occupational Safety Health Administration) takes its mandate to protect employees’ health and safety very seriously indeed. Recently in Illinois, OSHA cited a gun range, Illinois Gun Works Ltd., for 28 alleged health violations after an inspection revealed that two gun range operators were exposed to airborne lead levels up to 12 times the permissible level. Illinois Gun Works is facing potential fines that could total $111,000.
Lead is dangerous stuff. It is highly toxic to humans. In fact, there is no safe threshold for lead exposure. To put that another way, no amount of lead is too small to cause the body harm.
Both workers and patrons at indoor firing ranges are at risk of lead poisoning from exposure to hazardous levels of lead. When a gun is fired, it releases lead dust into the air, as well as lead fumes in the gun smoke. If the facility is not properly ventilated, workers and patrons can easily breathe in the lead dust and fumes. The lead dust can settle on hands, clothing, lunchroom surfaces, food or beverages, where it can be easily ingested.
Workers can also be exposed to airborne lead dust when cleaning the range, cleaning the guns or emptying bullet trays. What’s more, workers and shooters both can carry lead dust home on their clothes, hair or skin, contaminating their homes and exposing their families to toxic levels of lead, which can be especially dangerous to young children.
Clearly, anyone owning or operating an indoor shooting range should want to avoid harming either their workers or their customers, not to mention avoiding $100,000+ fines! The best way to accomplish this is to operate their business in a conscientious manner that is designed to eliminate or minimize lead exposure. Proper ventilation, good housekeeping practices and basic personal hygiene are all common sense steps towards achieving a lead-free environment for workers and patrons both.
How to Test for Lead
Fortunately, there are products on the market that will help immensely with this effort. Before you can start the cleanup, you have to know where the lead is. Lead testing performed with a D-Lead® EPA-Approved Lead Detection Kit from Esca Tech will reveal the presence of lead dust on tools, countertops, clothing and pretty much anywhere that lead dust can settle, detecting the presence of lead in amounts as low as 20 micrograms. (Remember, no amount of lead is too small to cause harm.)
Once you know where the lead is, use Esca Tech’s D-Lead® Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner for the Removal of Lead Dust. D-Lead All-Purpose Cleaner lifts and suspends lead, grease, oil, dirt, lead paint dust, and firing range residue from all types or water-washable surfaces, including countertops, machinery, equipment and tools. It also prevents the transfer of hazardous lead dust from these surfaces to skin and work clothes.
These fine products and the full line of Esca Tech products for lead cleanup can be found at eSafetyStore.com. Click Here.
Lead poisoning is 100% preventable. It just takes shooting range operators, workers and gun enthusiasts to be aware of the risks and potential adverse health of lead exposure.
Here are a few more simple steps that can help prevent lead exposure.
- Make sure the range is well ventilated to reduce airborne lead levels at the firing line. General exhaust ventilation is not enough. A separate ventilation system should carry gun smoke away from the shooters’ faces and directly downrange where it is exhausted, filtered and discharged.
- An indoor firing range should never be dry-swept. Wet-mop the range, or use a vacuum with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter to remove lead particles.
- Never smoke, eat or drink inside a firing range. It is simply too easy to ingest or inhale lead dust that may have settled on your food or in your beverage.
- After shooting, cleaning firearms, picking up spent casing pellets or reloading ammunition, wash your hands immediately.
- Before leaving the firing range facilities, change your clothes and shoes.
- Wear fully protective outer clothing and a fit-tested NIOSH-approved respirator with a HEPA filter during all firing range cleaning operations. Common paper dust masks are inadequate. Lead particles will pass right through them.
This is just a partial list of the things you need to do to avoid lead exposure. Do your homework and make sure you approach the prevention of lead exposure in the proper way. When you hear about a firing range operator possibly facing a fine of $111,000 for alleged health violations concerning exposure to lead, it gives all new meaning to the phrase, “Get the lead out!”