Occupational Health & Safety

OSHA Fines Shooting Range Cleanup Firm $480,000

The agency also has placed Welch Group Environmental LLP into its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, according to its Jan. 10 announcement.

An enforcement action by OSHA's Region 4 includes proposed fines of $480,000 and the decision to place Welch Group Environmental LLP of Belton, S.C., into OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, according to its Jan. 10 announcement. The citation lists 17 alleged health violations. Welch Group Environmental was contracted by Delray Shooting Center in Delray Beach, Fla. to clean a shooting range and reclaim the lead. OSHA said its inspection found Welch Group Environmental failed to protect workers from overexposure to lead.

"The management of Welch Group Environmental acknowledged awareness of OSHA's lead standards and the dangers associated with lead exposure but continued to allow hazards to exist, exposing employees to serious health risks," said Darlene Fossum, OSHA's area director in Fort Lauderdale.

Attempts by OH&S Editor Jerry Laws to contact the company's president and CEO, Glenn Welch, for comment were unsuccessful.

The inspection began last July as part of national and regional emphasis programs for lead. Eleven allegedly willful violations with $462,000 in penalties involve failing to provide employees with a respirator fit test and respirator training, use engineering controls to reduce employee exposure to lead, provide eye or head protection, provide shower facilities and changing rooms, provide monitoring for lead levels in employees' blood, ensure employees' blood level results were reduced before sending them to work in lead-contaminated areas, provide medical removal protection benefits to employees, and train workers on lead exposure. "Additionally, the employer allowed workers to shovel and dry sweep lead-contaminated areas, and allowed them to be exposed to lead above the permissible exposure limit," OSHA said.

Four allegedly serious violations with $16,800 in penalties also involve respiratory protection. The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/WelchEvironmentalGp-315354563-0106-12.pdf.

Being in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program means Welch Group Environmental faces mandatory targeted follow-up inspections. For more information on SVEP, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.

Welch Group Environmental has 15 business days to comply, request a conference with the area director, or contest the case to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.OSHA said the company operates locations in Fair Play and Anderson, S.C., and employs about 14 workers who provide range cleaning and lead recovery services for approximately 101 indoor and outdoor shooting ranges in 16 states.

OSHA's Region 4, with headquarters in Atlanta, includes the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

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