OSHA Pulls the Trigger, Cites Illinois Gun Works

June 12, 2012
OSHA has cited Illinois Gun Works Ltd. for 28 alleged health violations – including exposing workers to lead and other hazards – following a Jan. 21 inspection referred by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The inspection found two gun range operators were exposed to airborne lead levels up to 12 times the permissible level. Proposed fines total $111,000.

“Illinois Gun Works has a responsibility to protect the health of its employees by ensuring that they operate in a manner which eliminates or minimizes lead hazards, including exposure,” said Diane Turek, director of OSHA’s Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines. “OSHA is committed to protecting employees' safety and health.”

The total of 27 serious OSHA violations includes 13 instances of violating the lead standard, including failing to: implement engineering and work practice controls to reduce exposure, collect full shift personal samples for monitoring, measure effectiveness of the ventilation system to control exposure, provide clean protective clothing, dispose of or replace protective clothing, provide clean changing rooms or separate storage facilities for protective work clothing to prevent cross-contamination with street clothes, require workers exposed to lead to shower at the end of a shift or to ensure workers washed hands and faces prior to consuming food during breaks and implement a medical surveillance program for all employees who were exposed to lead at or above the action levels, including biological monitoring such as blood sampling.

The remaining serious violations include failing to implement a hazard communication program, train workers on hazardous chemicals present in the work environment, label chemical bottles with contents and a hazard warning, administer an effective hearing conservation program, train in the use of personal protective equipment and implement a respirator protection program that includes, fit testing and training. A serious violation occurs 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.

One other-than-serious violation has been cited for failing to provide a written certification that a hazard assessment had been performed. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Illinois Gun Works operates a gun sales business, a shooting range and gun safety training. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with Turek or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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