Workers' compensation: The threat of lead poisoning in gun ranges

Gun ranges nationwide, including in California, pose lead poisoning hazards for both workers and customers. Fortunately, affected employees can claim workers' compensation benefits. A gun range in another state that opened only four months ago recently received a warning citation after high lead levels were identified in the firing range area and also the merchandise area that is frequented by customers. The business owner explained that a defective air filtration system caused air from the range to flow into the showroom. A separate system in the firing range area pushes lead-laden air out.

Workers who are exposed to excessive levels of lead could suffer lead poisoning, which can cause damage to the nerves, brain, reproductive system, kidneys and red blood cells. Exposed workers who experience abdominal pain and cramping, stool that is tarry or black, nausea, vomiting, headaches, stupor or confusion might have been poisoned by lead. Other symptoms include jaundice and a sudden decrease in the volumes of urine passed. A doctor's examination and a lead level test is crucial if any of these symptoms are experienced after working or visiting a gun range.

Workers in these facilities must avoid drinking, eating or smoking in areas where lead dust can settle on surfaces and be ingested. The problem can also be mitigated by only shooting ammunition that is jacketed or contains no lead. Gun ranges are known for lead exposure, and owners must take all possible precautions to protect workers and customers.

California workers who are diagnosed with lead poisoning after workplace exposure will be entitled to workers' compensation benefits that will cover medical expenses and lost wages. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can explain the proper procedures and timelines when it comes to the filing of benefits claims. The lawyer can also provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the claims process.

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