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Gun Range Workers Sue Over Lead Exposure

By Andrew Lu on March 15, 2013 12:48 PM

Workers at a gun range in Washington state are suing their employer over allegedly harmful lead exposure.

A lot of rounds are shot off at gun ranges. But you may have wondered what happens to all those spent bullets and shell casings which are often made of lead.

Some workers at Wade's Eastside Guns in Bellevue say they dug large holes at the gun range to bury the spent bullets and lead. When it rained, the workers claim to have been exposed to toxins, Seattle's KING-TV reports.

One employee who worked at the gun range for more than a decade says he helped excavate a large dirt backstop at the range to bury the lead. After three weeks of performing this work, he says that he had to go to the hospital for a variety of ailments such as nausea, headaches, and even hurting kidneys.

At the hospital, it was revealed that the employee had blood lead levels eight times higher than what is considered safe, according to KING-TV. The employee went back to work at the gun range, but says that he still suffers full body aches and erectile dysfunction.

The owner of the gun range, Wade Gaughran, says that he supplies workers with the proper instructions and protective gear for removing the lead. But he says that his workers choose not to follow the rules.

Unfortunately for Gaughran, an employee who refuses to follow the rules may not be a defense to a personal injury lawsuit. As an employer, Gaughran has a duty to make sure that he provides a safe workplace. This can include much more than simply buying protecting gear and printing out a safety checklist. Instead, it can also include training employees on safe practices and even disciplining workers who fail to follow safety protocols.

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