DLIR News Release: State Recognized for Safety & Health Consultation ProgramPosted on Jun 22, 2020 in Latest Department News
On-Site Consultation Visit to Firearms Dealer and Shooting Range Identified Lead Hazard
HONOLULU — The Hawai‘i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) today announced that the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division’s (HIOSH) Consultation & Training Branch (C&T) earned recognition by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The federal agency recognizes “Success Stories” for state programs and small business employers who operate exemplary safety and health programs.
“I am proud of our HIOSH C&T Branch earning recognition by OSHA, and more importantly, the on-site consultation visit positively affected employees’ lives by providing information that led to medical monitoring and removal of unsafe conditions,” said Deputy Director Anne Eustaquio.
OSHA’s Success Story commended the HIOSH C&T Program for removing workers from lead poisoning hazards as the result of an On-Site Consultation visit to a firearms retailer and shooting range where HIOSH consultants identified high levels of lead throughout the facility. Because lead exposure is a well-known occupational hazard in shooting ranges, C&T consultants made it a point to address the hazard during the on-site visit, and with permission from the general manager, they evaluated the shooting range’s ventilation system.
HIOSH staff discovered the system was not working properly, and that smoke from the shooting range was lingering in the shooting stations and being distributed by an unfiltered fan throughout the shooting range and into the adjacent retail space. Wipe sampling revealed lead dust levels significantly above OSHA’s acceptable decontamination level of 200 micrograms per square foot (µg/ft2). In one area where employees consumed food, the level was measured at 1,765 µg/ft2. This number is of concern due to the ingestion hazard.
Concerned by these findings, HIOSH C&T consultants recommended personal air sampling and immediate blood testing for employees. As a result of blood testing, the general manager himself was medically removed from the workplace by his physician due to an extremely high lead blood level and chronic over-exposure to lead. He began advocating for his employees and pledging to create a safe and healthful workplace by cleaning up the shop and fixing the shooting range ventilation.
HIOSH’s Consultation Program is a free consultation service largely funded by OSHA whereby employers can find out about potential hazards at their worksites, improve their occupational safety and health management systems, and even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections. Primarily targeted for smaller businesses, this safety and health consultation program operates separately from the HIOSH inspection effort. In addition, the Consultation Program does not issue citations or penalties.
The program functions confidentially as names, company name, and any information provided about your workplace, plus any unsafe or unhealthful working conditions that the consultant uncovers, is not reported routinely to the HIOSH inspection staff. The only obligation entails committing to correcting serious job safety and health hazards.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. HIOSH’s role is to ensure these conditions for Hawai‘i’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information about the Consultation Program please visit: https://labor.hawaii.gov/hiosh/home/for-employers/consultation/.
The HIOSH On-Site Consultation program, at the time of initial publication of this document (06/2020), is funded by a cooperative agreement for $473,800 in Federal funds, which constitutes ninety percent (90%) of the program budget. Zero percent (0%), or $0 of the program budget, is financed through non-governmental sources.
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