US Labor Department's OSHA cites E.N. Range for exposing workers to lead
hazards at outdoor gun range in Oley, Pa., among other violations
Violations carry more than $201,000 in proposed penalties
OLEY, Pa. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Miami, Fla.-based E.N. Range Inc. for exposing workers to dangerously high levels of lead while removing lead pellets at an outdoor gun range in Oley. Proposed penalties total $201,600.
OSHA initiated an inspection in response to a complaint alleging the lead hazards as well as deficiencies in the company's respiratory protection program. As a result of the inspection, three willful citations were issued with penalties of $168,000 and 11 serious citations were issued with penalties of $33,600.
"E.N. Range failed to take the necessary steps to protect employees exposed to lead levels above the permissible limit," said Kevin Kilp, director of OSHA's area office in Harrisburg. "Lead overexposure is a leading cause of workplace illness that can lead to serious, adverse health problems."
The willful citations were issued for failing to ensure employees exposed to lead above the permissible limit did not wear contaminated protective clothing home; provide a change room and ensure employees removed protective clothing in the change room at the end of the work shift; provide shower facilities for employees exposed to lead; ensure employees washed their hands and faces before eating and drinking; maintain all surfaces free of lead accumulation; and provide information and training on lead. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
The serious citations were issued for failing to use a guardrail on an open-sided platform; utilize ladders set at the proper angle; select the appropriate respirator; identify and evaluate respiratory hazards in the workplace; fit-test employees for respirators; implement engineering controls to reduce lead exposures; and replace protective clothing as needed. Additionally, inspectors cited the company for failing to notify employees when blood tests indicated lead levels above the permissible limit, provide employees with a written medical opinion for lead, post warning signs where employees were exposed to lead above the permissible limit and accurately record all air monitoring results. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
OSHA's lead standard requires employers to protect their workers from lead exposure, which can cause many serious health issues including brain damage, paralysis and kidney disease, as well as death. Detailed information about lead hazards is available on OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/lead/index.html.
E.N. Range Inc. specializes in lead reclamation and metal removal for indoor and outdoor gun ranges, and employs nine employees at the Olney site. In August 2010, OSHA issued citations to E.N. Range Inc. in Miami, Fla., for more than 50 violations, alleging that the company knowingly neglected to protect employees who clean gun ranges from serious overexposure to lead, as well as violations of other standards. E.N. Range also was cited at that location for providing non-Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments for lead exposure without medical supervision. For those violations, the company is facing total proposed penalties of $2,099,600. It is currently contesting the citations and penalties.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations involving the Olney site to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Harrisburg Area Office; telephone 717-782-3902. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.