To the surprise of most firearm and ammunition manufacturers, outdoor gun clubs and those with indoor shooting ranges, they must comply with OSHA regulations. These regulations apply to “Workers,” which are those people who receive a tangible benefit from employment or receive work instruction. As such, even non-profit organizations, which do not have “employees,” fall under these regulations. However, members of a club or range, who do not receive some form of direct benefit or receive work instructions are not included as workers. The regulations applicable to manufacturers, clubs and ranges include, but are not limited to:
Lead Standard: 29 C.F.R. 1910.1025: There MUST be an initial determination made by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, Bureau of Occupational and Industrial Safety (BOIS) that the outdoor range falls within the safety lead standards. Recordkeeping of the initial determination is mandatory. If the range has never requested that BOIS make a determination, I strongly suggest asking the BOIS for a lead testing determination. While it is unlikely that an outdoor range would have issue, without the required determination, BOIS could shut the range down immediately.
Noise Exposure: 29 C.F.R. 1910.95: Where the manufacturing process or gunfire exceeds “permissible noise exposure” levels,hearing protection or implementation of a Hearing Conservation Program is required.
Lead as Hazardous Waste: Pursuant to 40 C.F.R.261.3, lead is hazardous waste, regardless of whether utilized in the manufacturing process or expended at a range. As such, you must have a lead abatement plan and potentially a respiratory protection program. Moreover,while the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA), 40 C.F.R. 261.4(13),allows the recycling of lead as a scrap metal, there are recordkeeping requirements with the recycling. You must keep logs of when the scrap lead was removed, by whom, who the smelter was, if a different person, and the manufacturer, club orrange should have a signed receipt by the smelter stating that he took X amount of lead for recycling. Such recordkeeping will ensure that lead is not being dumped in playgrounds or in fields, instead of being recycled.
Clean Water Act: Under no circumstances should anyone even consider shooting into any water or waterway, including a dry riverbed. The waterways that fall under this Act are the “Waters of the U.S.,” which are defined by the U.S. Corp of Engineers. Many individuals have been arrested and prosecuted for merely shooting into a small pond, with no observable water inlet or outlet, because the Corp determined that it was “Waters of the U.S.”
We are prepared to advise your firearm or ammunition manufacturing business, gun club or indoor range on the OSHA requirements and offer advice on OSHA compliance to ensure that your business or gun club is never shutdown by OSHA, BOIS or a disgruntled neighbor.