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INDOOR FIRING RANGES

Overview

Indoor firing ranges are popular among law enforcement and recreational shooters because they offer protection from inclement weather conditions and can be operated around the clock under controlled environmental conditions. However, many firing range facilities lack environmental and occupational controls to protect the health of shooters and range personnel from effects of airborne lead, noise, and other potential exposures.

This page provides links to information about the evaluation, measurement, and control of noise and airborne lead exposures at indoor firing ranges.

NIOSH Publications

Preventing Occupational Exposures to Lead and Noise at Indoor Firing Ranges
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2009-136
This Alert presents five case reports that document lead and noise exposures of law enforcement officers and students. The Alert examines firing range operations, exposure assessment and control methods, existing regulations, and exposure standards and guidelines.

Reducing Exposure to Lead and Noise at Indoor Firing Ranges
NIOSH Publication No. 2010-113
This two-page Workplace Solutions document provides clear and simple recommendations to workers, occupational shooters, and operators of indoor firing ranges to reduce their occupational exposure to airborne lead and high-intensity noise.

Reducing Exposure to Lead and Noise at Outdoor Firing Ranges
NIOSH Publication No. 2013-104
This two-page Workplace Solutions document provides clear and simple recommendations to workers, occupational shooters, and operators of outdoor firing ranges to reduce their occupational exposure to airborne lead and high-intensity noise.

Lead exposure and design considerations for indoor firing ranges
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 76-130 (December 1975)
This technical document provides the user with recommendations for design considerations and work practices to reduce or eliminate health hazards associated with indoor firing ranges. It includes topics such as ventilation, noise, and maintenance issues.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Measurement of impulse peak insertion loss for four hearing protection devices in field conditions
Int J Audiol 2012 Feb; 51(S1):S31-S42

Handwipe method for removing lead from skin
J ASTM Int 2011 May; 8(5):JAI103527

Evaluation of a handwipe disclosing method for lead
J ASTM Int 2011 Apr; 8(4):1-7

Measurement of impulse peak insertion loss for five hearing protectors
J Acoust Soc Am 2011 Apr; 129(4)(Part 2):2651

Noise control solutions for indoor firing ranges
Noise Control Eng J 2010 Jul; 58(4):345-356

Assessment of noise exposure for indoor and outdoor firing ranges
J Occup Environ Hyg 2007 Sep; 4(9):688-697

Firearms and hearing protection
Hearing Rev 2007 Mar; 14(3):36, 38

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report June 17, 2005 / 54(23);577-579: Lead Exposure from Indoor Firing Ranges Among Students on Shooting Teams --- Alaska, 2002—2004
During 2002--2004, the Alaska Environmental Public Health Program (EPHP) conducted lead-exposure assessments of school-based indoor shooting teams in the state. This investigation revealed that lead exposure can occur at indoor firing ranges despite federal regulations and specific guidelines pertaining to range design and operation.

NIOSH/NHCA best-practices workshop on impulsive noise
Noise Control Eng J 2005 Mar-Apr; 53(2):53-60

Noise exposure assessment and abatement strategies at an indoor firing range
Appl Occup Env Hyg 2003 Aug; 18(8):629-636

Indoor Shooting Ranges
ASHARE Journal 2002 Dec; 44-48

Ventilation control of lead in indoor firing ranges: inlet configuration and booth and fluctuating flow contributions
Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 1991 Feb; 52(2):81-91

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report September 23, 1983 / 32(37);483-4,489: Reducing Exposures to Airborne Lead in Indoor Firing Ranges -- United States
Between 1980 and 1982, NIOSH completed nine evaluations of exposures to lead in indoor firing ranges. Results show that exposure of shooters to airborne lead is greatly reduced by replacing traditional lead bullets with nylon-clad, copper-jacketed, or zinc ammunition.

For more publications, see:
NIOSHTIC-2 search results on Firing Ranges
NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable bibliographic database of occupational safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by NIOSH.

NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluations

NIOSH conducts Health Hazard Evaluations (HHEs) to find out whether there are health hazards to employees caused by exposures or conditions in the workplace.

Some recent HHE reports related to firing ranges have been listed below. For a comprehensive listing of HHE reports please search the HHE Database.

Health Hazard Evaluation Report: HETA 2012-0091-3187, Evaluation of Instructor and Range Officer Exposure to Emissions from Copper-Based Frangible Ammunition at a Military Firing Range

Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2011-0069-3140, noise and lead exposures at an outdoor firing range — California

Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2008-0275-3146, evaluation of lead exposure at an indoor firing range — California

Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2005-0153-2997, Markham Park, Broward County Parks and Recreation Division, Sunrise, Florida[PDF - 930 KB]

Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2002-0131-2898, Fort Collins Police Services, Fort Collins, Colorado[PDF - 636 KB]

Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2000-0191-2960, Immigration and Naturalization Service, National Firearms Unit, Altoona, Pennsylvania[PDF - 1,393 KB]

Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-1997-0255-2735, Forest Park Police Department, Forest Park, Ohio[PDF - 254 KB]

Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-1996-0218-2623, New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council, Concord, New Hampshire[PDF - 231 KB]

Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-1996-0107-2613, Dartmouth Police Department, Dartmouth, Massachusetts[PDF - 215 KB]

Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-1992-0034-2356, Saint Bernard Police Department, Saint Bernard, Ohio[PDF - 215 KB]

Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-1991-0346-2572, FBI Academy, Quantico, Virginia[PDF - 325 KB]

Other Resources

Range Design Criteria: U.S. Department of Energy: Office of Health, Safety and Security

Workshop on Indoor Shooting Ranges: Responsible Care of Range Environment: Proceedings of the Workshop on Indoor Shooting Ranges

Lead Management and OSHA Compliance for Indoor Shooting Ranges
The National Association of Shooting Ranges (NASR) produced this manual though an alliance with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and input from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The manual provides valuable background on lead issues, as well as general guidance for lead monitoring and ventilation, precautions and coverage for employees, and related business practices.

OSHA-NASR-SAAMI Alliance
August 5, 2002: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Association of Shooting Ranges (NASR) and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) established an Alliance to promote safe and healthful working conditions for workers in target shooting facilities.

 
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  • Page last reviewed: August 15, 2013
  • Page last updated: September 4, 2013
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