Lead can be absorbed by firing range workers in several ways. If we breathe it in, it is absorbed into the blood stream from the lungs. It can be absorbed from the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth, and eyes. Because of this we need to make sure that the workplace is safe, and employees have the safety gear needed to do their job properly, but personal responsibility is also needed. For indoor firing ranges and other environments with a potential for heavy lead-load, employees need to be protected against inhalation hazards and absorption from the mouth, nose, and eyes. In this article we will discuss a variety of solutions including air ventilation and respirators.
Respirators are designed to protect from inhaled gas, vapor, and particulates. Safety gear for the eyes protects from splash, vapors, and particulates that can absorb through the eyes. So one piece of equipment employers provide are respirators, P-100’s for many firing range applications, Then comes the “fly in the ointment” respirators can’t be fitted tightly against the skin of the face with a beard….
OSHA has given guidance for employees and businesses regarding how the requirements for respirator use and fit-testing conflict with the personal freedom and religious and cultural expressions of beards. This is an interesting perspective to be taken into consideration when making your own decisions.
- An employer doesn’t need to describe the need for shaving or modifying a beard to prospective employees. Employers are required to ensure safe working environments and safe equipment. Requiring an employee to wear a respirator, which includes passing fit-testing, is not considered discriminatory.
- A beard worn for cultural or religious reasons does not change the need to wear a respirator to ensure a safe working environment. Employers have the option of providing a positive pressure respirator that does not require fit testing to the face, but they are not required to do so.
- Beards and other facial hair are not required to be shaved. The respirator is required to fit tightly against the face, and that usually means soft silicon to bare skin. An option may be to shave the sides of the face, or try alternate facial hair. Mustaches usually fit well within modern respirators.
Tips for Ventilation Air Filters at a Gun Range
Filtering the air at an indoor gun range is vital to keeping a safe environment. Proper ventilation air filters reduce the lethal toxic levels of lead which will keep employees and shooters as healthy as possible. According to American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers, or ASHRAE, an air ventilation system needs a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV filter that is correctly sized for your ventilation system. Adhering to this important step will confirm that the contaminated air will not leak out due to inadequate sealing. The MERV 14 pre-filter will ultimately extend the life cycle of the main High-Efficiency Particulate Air, or HEPA filter. Utilizing this combination of filters will remove approximately 99.97% of the lead toxins in an establishment’s re-circulated air. Lead particles range from 0.01 μm to 2 μm and a MERV 14 will filter 0.03 μm particles or larger.
Installing a ventilation system may be pricey, however, the expense is worth it. One option for a ventilation air filter system on the market today is the Camfil SafeRange™ Series. Camfil’s SafeRange™ is specifically designed to handle the strain of filtering an indoor gun range. If you would like to compare prices and ventilation systems with other top-tier ventilation companies, review Carey’s Small Arms Range Ventilation or Action Target.
MT2 is the #1 and Largest Nationwide Professional Firing Range Lead Reclamation and Maintenance Contractor for both indoor & outdoor ranges. MT2’s proven record of services includes: complete firing range maintenance & improvements, lead remediation services, lead reclamation, OSHA & environmental consulting, operational maintenance and range closure.
MT2’s zero-tolerance for regulatory violations gives range owners the peace of mind that their project will be successfully completed on a guaranteed schedule. No one can complete an Environmental or firing range lead reclamation project quicker and safer than MT2. Contact us today for a free firing range analysis, complete our online range questionnaire.