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Workplace accidents: Lead exposure led to OSHA citations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration received complaints about lead exposure at a gun range in Texas. The agency endeavors to prevent workplace accidents and injuries or illnesses, and it launched the National Emphasis Program on Lead to address excessive exposure in workplaces. Employers must monitor and address workplace hazards that could threaten the safety and health of employees.

In facilities such as gun ranges, business owners must comply with prescribed safety regulations that include hygiene facilities, respiratory protection, engineering controls, medical surveillance and exposure monitoring. Employers must inform workers of the potential hazards posed by lead and provide the necessary safety training to teach them how to protect themselves. During an August 2018 investigation at the shooting range, compliance inspectors of OSHA found multiple safety violations, for which penalties of more than $214,000 were proposed.

Citations were issued for exposing workers to airborne lead that exceeded the permissible limit of exposure. Investigators reported that surfaces throughout the shooting range were contaminated with lead dust, and the employer failed to provide undamaged personal protective equipment. The company neglected to monitor employees for illnesses caused by lead exposure, and it failed to use high-efficiency vacuum cleaners instead of brooms to sweep up lead debris.

Workers in Texas who are suffering the consequences of workplace accidents or overexposure to lead might be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. An attorney who has experience in dealing with the state-regulated insurance program can assist with the navigation of the benefits claims process. Affected workers typically receive benefits that cover medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages.

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