According to a recent article published by EHS Daily Advisor, excessive lead exposure can occur at indoor firing ranges in several different ways which can negatively impact their employees. The good news is that this is not a new problem and indoor firing range
maintenance and cleaning can easily be implemented
to ensure safety is maintained.
Various ways lead, and lead dust can impact an indoor firing range include:, but are not limited to
- Using firearms with lead bullets or lead containing primer;
- Lead bullet deformation and fragmentation;
- Inadequate mechanical ventilation;
- Improper firearm cleaning;
- Improper handling of spent cartridges; and
- Improper cleaning of contaminated surfaces at gun ranges.
Gun range owners are fully aware of the issues as well as OSHA regulations. As employers, they are required by law to follow OSHA regulations in implementing policies and protocols designed to ensure worker and shooter safety. This includes regular air sample monitoring and testing of employees who may have been exposed to unsafe levels of lead.
In recent years the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has recognized that indoor gun ranges pose a lead exposure problem for both employees and customers. Indoor gun ranges are included on a list of 22 kinds of workplaces “known to put workers at risk of lead exposure” published on the CDC website.
The lead exposure problem is not new news to firing range owners. The industry has known about the problem for years and has been actively engaged in deploying effective solutions. Firing range owners are, by and large, committed to the safety of both staff and guests.
The Industry Effort
It is vitally important for the public to know that gun range owners are involved in an organized effort to ensure lead safety. For example, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has published a comprehensive guide covering everything range owners need to know about lead exposure and OSHA standards.
The guide starts by talking about the risks of lead exposure to human beings. It explains potential sources of lead exposure at the average gun range. It then goes on to cover a variety of topics including:
- Air monitoring
- Mechanical ventilation
- Housekeeping and hygiene
- Employee training
The guide even goes so far as to discuss medical programs and administrative controls. Gun range owners who implement the principles found in it are more than capable of mitigating the risk of lead exposure in their facilities. Yes, the CDC counts gun ranges among those workplaces where lead exposure can be a problem.
Gun range owners are aware of the issue and have been working hard to mitigate it since it was first discovered.
Who is at Risk
Gun range owners and employees are at the greatest risk due to long hours of exposure. Most range owners do their best to follow OSHA guidelines to protect themselves and employees, but exposure can still easily happen. Law enforcement personnel and those in the military are also at great risk of lead exposure. This, in part, is due to their profession and being in constant contact with firearms. Not only are shooters at the ranges at risk of exposure, their families may also be impacted after contaminated clothing and equipment are brought home.
What to Look for:
The most common side effects of lead poisoning are:
- Pain in the abdomen or joints
- Constipation, nausea, vomiting
- Learning disabilities or slow growth
- Fatigue or loss of appetite
- Irritability or hyperactivity
- A headache, insomnia, and memory loss
Anyone having experienced any of these symptoms after they, or a loved one, has visited an indoor firing range may have been exposed to lead in some form.
Why Range Cleaning Services Are Beneficial – Proper Cleaning of a Gun Range is Necessary
Lead poisoning is extremely bad but can be completely preventable. Here is what a professional range cleaning service can do for range owners to help keep lead poisoning at a minimum:
- Manages compliance and manifest paperwork
- Shooting lane stall cleaning
- Lead decontamination
- Removes lead dust from the ventilation system
- Replaces air filters as well as treating the filters on-site so they can be disposed as non-hazardous
- Disposes of the lead
Firing Range Lead maintenance contracts are trained professionals on the cleanup and removal of lead and lead dust. They are aware of the dangers and know the proper procedures. This service can help to keep everyone safe. Thusly, this allows gun range owners to keep their focus on the target and not on the worry of lead exposure. Great care must be used in selecting a lead contractor for your gun range because as the generator of lead, your range is responsible for it through the entire lifecycle.
MT2 Firing Range Services is the #1 largest most cost-effective nationwide professional indoor & outdoor firing range lead reclamation & maintenance contractor providing the highest value for your recycled lead. Now in our 18th year in business, MT2 Firing Range Services is a recent Inc. 5,000 fastest growing company and is well-known industry wide for being the nation’s #1 largest professional provider of the full scale of outdoor/indoor firing range environmental/maintenance/construction services at over 2,000 ranges nationwide for Law Enforcement, Military and Commercial ranges in all 50 states. No one reclaims more lead or finishes a project faster than MT2!!