This is an example of when OSHA cites a gun range for workplace lead exposure in Baltimore County at an indoor shooting range in Lutherville cited for exposing employees to high concentrations of lead.
The investigation began after an anonymous complaint to MOSH (Maryland Occupational Safety and Health). The investigation revealed county employees with lead exposure in concentrations of three times the OSHA limit of 50 micrograms per cubic meter. However, most violations were procedural: lack of a written hazard communication plan on site and lack of proper safety gear of respirators and protective coveralls for employees.
Inspectors discovered uncleaned surfaces and detected 95 micrograms of lead on a desk from a wipe sample. Employees ate their lunches at this desk.
A wise decision would be to conduct your own firing range OSHA & EPA compliance audits to make sure your firing range is in compliance. The cost of a consulting package like this is miniscule compared to a large penalty!
Baltimore County officers must go to the range twice a year for re-certification. Lead particles enter the lungs and absorb into the bloodstream after released from a firing weapon. The bloodstream carries the particles to soft tissue and bone where the symptoms of lead poisoning include pain, mood disorders, memory loss, high blood pressure, and miscarriage in pregnant women.
Police spokeswoman, Elise Armacost, said the department is evaluating plans to improve ventilation. “This project is in the design stages and funded once a final design is ready,” she said. “Chief (James) Johnson and the administration have been working on this for some time, both are committed to making sure we meet and exceed safety standards.”
On April 25, 2015 in The Baltimore Sun, an article written by Alison Knezevich, revealed the “county police were preparing to spend $500,000 to install a new ventilation system that they, and police union leaders, hope will alleviate the problem at the facility off Dulaney Valley Road.”
Information regarding the updates have not been found, however, a Lead Poisoning Information sheet is available on a page with information on range and firearms training for qualifications in 2016. No mention of updating the range was on the form. The date of this form was January 20, 2016.
In a different occurrence: OSHA cites gun range for workplace lead exposure at the Chabot Gun Club and the club’s ability to manage lead pollution from shells is coming down to the wire. The gun club was given until January 15, 2016 to submit a business plan ensuring lead pollution from shells was manageable.
However, the gun club is short on money to stay open due to expensive monitoring and clean-up of lead pollution in soil and water. The board members of the East Bay Regional Park District adopted a deadline of December 22, 2015 for information from the club showing they would be able to stay open. Skepticism in granting a long-term lease depends on the information Chabot Gun Club submits to the board members.
The gun club representative expressed the need for their consultants to have additional time “to do complicated soil and runoff analysis to determine how to manage lead at this time.”
It’s estimated the cost is $2.5 million over five years to manage the polluted storm run off if the gun club stays open and millions of dollars more to clean the site if the gun club closes. Chabot Gun Club’s president, Dennis Staats, informed the board he could not commit to the January 15 deadline because of the requirements the park district is seeking.
The gun club needs more time to have its consultants determine the level of lead pollution and the cost to maintain it. But park board members want the lease to run out on December 31 to protect the park from even more lead pollution.
“We don’t want the park to subsidize the operation of the gun club,” said Frank Burton, organizer of an online petition drive to support closing the shooting range.
Park directors decided to extend the lease to give the club an opportunity to devise a plan to contain and clean up the lead.
In a recent news update on Friday, February 26, “regional park managers recommended closing the privately run gun range in Anthony Chabot Regional Park in six months because of extensive lead pollution from the shells.”
“Allowing lead contamination to remain on public watershed lands is not consistent with the park district’s mission of environmental stewardship,” park managers concluded in a report. “Continuing operation of the range means allowing the lead pollution to continue.”
Ron Hermanson of Oakland says, “I think this is an anti-gun issue. This is a responsible place for people to safely practice target shooting. If they are really concerned about pollution, the park district should eliminate the horses that leave droppings all over the trails.”
In San Francisco, the cost of cleaning up the Pacific Rod and Gun Club at Lake Merced was over $22 million. It would cost $2 million to $20 million to clean up the Chabot Gun Range site and even more for short-term measures to capture tainted runoff.
If you would like to discuss how MT2 can help your firing range identify and prevent issues that may arise related to lead hazardous waste, please contact us.