In 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identified serious safety violations at Pro Armament Company LLC, a gun shop in Ohio. The 2015 follow-up inspection showed the gun shop still had not addressed the safety violations, including:
- Overexposing workers to lead
- Failure to monitor workers’ exposure to lead
- Failure to provide proper training to workers on respiratory and lead hazards
- Failure to provide protective clothing
- Failure to provide clean changing rooms
- Failure to require workers to shower at the end of a shift to prevent lead contamination
- Lacking procedures to remove lead from workplace surfaces
Last month, OSHA placed the gun shop in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program after the company once again failed to correct the serious violations OSHA noted in its prior inspections. Pro Armament now faces $194,400 in fines.
Gun Ranges and Gun Shops Are Loaded With Lead and Put Workers at Risk
Gun ranges and gun shops are everywhere and the number of recreational shooters is an estimated 40 million. When a shooter fires a gun, dust, lead vapor and other toxins fire along with the bullet. Both shooters and workers at these shops and ranges have been known to be contaminated due to poor ventilation and contact with surfaces coated in lead.
Employees who work with firearms are particularly susceptible to inhaling lead vapors and lead contamination. Gun ranges and gun shops without proper contamination protocols leave workers at risk to carry lead residue back home on their clothes, work gear and skin. This makes not only workers at risk for becoming ill from lead exposure, but also their friends and families. Lead exposure can cause the following harmful effects:
- Numbness in the wrists and feet
- Impaired concentration
- Lead lining the gingival tissue in the mouth
- Miscarriages or stillbirths
- Fertility problems
These are only some of the symptoms high levels of lead exposure can cause. However, OSHA does not typically inspect either gun ranges or gun shops unless there is a blood-test report showing a worker has been overexposed or a formal complaint is filed. And by that point, the damage is already done. OSHA needs to keep a tighter leash on gun ranges and gun shops across the nation.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC is an Ohio workers’ compensation law firm that fights for victims who have been exposed to lead or other toxins while on the job.