NIOSH Posts Alert on Safety at Indoor Firing Ranges

NIOSH posted an Alert on Monday that will be useful to law enforcement agencies. The document, dated November 2007, lists good practices that can prevent excessive exposure to lead and noise by officers using indoor firing ranges and by employees of the ranges who clean up. Hearing protection is common at any indoor range, but the Alert recommends double protection -- ear plugs plus ear muffs -- and other precaution that include separately washing apparel that was worn while shooting from the clothes of family members.

Workers doing lead cleanup of an indoor firing range should wear respirators and full protective outer clothing, the document advises. It also recommends that employees know the signs and symptoms of lead poisoning and hearing loss. For employers, the Alert recommends audiometric testing for their employees, ensuring a well-designed system of supply air and exhaust ventilation is installed in the range, providing health and medical monitoring, and designing the range to minimize noise transmission to nearby areas.

The document is available at  www.cdc.gov/niosh/review/public/128/pdfs/DRAFTalertFiringRanges.pdf.

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