Fla. gun range workers in danger - and not from being shot (3/3)
March 3, 2011
Workers whose job it is to remove lead pellets at an outdoor gun range were exposed to dangerously high levels of lead, putting them at risk for brain damage, paralysis, kidney disease and death, according to OSHA.
OSHA has cited Miami, Fla.-based E.N. Range Inc. for a host of violations at an Oley gun range, with proposed penalties totaling $201,600.
OSHA initiated an inspection in response to a complaint alleging the lead hazards as well as deficiencies in the company's respiratory protection program.
"E.N. Range failed to take the necessary steps to protect employees exposed to lead levels above the permissible limit," said Kevin Kilp, director of OSHA's area office in Harrisburg. "Lead overexposure is a leading cause of workplace illness that can lead to serious, adverse health problems."
Three willful citations were issued for failing to ensure employees exposed to lead above the permissible limit did not wear contaminated protective clothing home; provide a change room and ensure employees removed protective clothing in the change room at the end of the work shift; provide shower facilities for employees exposed to lead; ensure employees washed their hands and faces before eating and drinking; maintain all surfaces free of lead accumulation; and provide information and training on lead.
Eleven serious citations were issued for failing to use a guardrail on an open-sided platform; utilize ladders set at the proper angle; select the appropriate respirator; identify and evaluate respiratory hazards in the workplace; fit-test employees for respirators; implement engineering controls to reduce lead exposures; and replace protective clothing as needed. Additionally, inspectors cited the company for failing to notify employees when blood tests indicated lead levels above the permissible limit, provide employees with a written medical opinion for lead, post warning signs where employees were exposed to lead above the permissible limit and accurately record all air monitoring results
OSHA's lead standard requires employers to protect their workers from lead exposure, which can cause many serious health issues including brain damage, paralysis and kidney disease, as well as death.
This wasn’t E.N. Range Inc’s first go-round with the agency. The company, which specializes in lead reclamation and metal removal for indoor and outdoor gun ranges, received more than 50 citations from OSH A in August 2010. OSHA alleged that the company knowingly neglected to protect employees who clean gun ranges from serious overexposure to lead, as well as violations of other standards. E.N. Range also was cited at that location for providing non-Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments for lead exposure without medical supervision. For those