Industrial Vacuum Blog

Resources to keep your plant and your people safe

Indoor Firing Ranges: Reduce Lead Exposure with a HEPA-Filtered Vacuum Cleaner

August 29, 2013

While firing ranges expose users and employees to certain obvious hazards, people often forget about the risk of lead exposure from dust and/or fumes that are released into the air when a gun is fired. The reduction of lead exposure is a OSHA high strategic priority as it is a leading cause of workplace illness, and violating the lead standard could result in costly consequences. Penalties can reach up to $2 million for violations that include exposing employees to airborne lead above the permissible level and failing to implement engineering and work practice controls to reduce exposure. Businesses are often given 15 days from receipt of citations to comply.

Practices such as proper range housekeeping can decrease the risk of lead exposure. Regulatory agencies recommend a daily cleaning schedule to safely collect hazardous lead dust, but caution against the use of sweeping or shoveling bullet debris, since they may only disperse dust back into the air. Instead, the National Institute for Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that ranges use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter vacuum cleaner to safely remove and retain lead particles.

Heritage Guild_S2 fixed floor side

Picture taken at Heritage Guild of Easton, PA

 

An industrial vacuum with a graduated filtration system or a series of progressively finer filters that capture increasingly smaller particles as they move through the vacuum will prevent premature clogging from bullet debris and maintain suction and performance. Perhaps most importantly, it will prevent the excessive wear and tear of the HEPA filter which ensures that even the tiniest lead particles are captured and not dispersed back into the air. Other features to look for:

  • Accessories such as a  fixed floor nozzle, equipped with rubber blades will enable employees to push the vacuum up and down lanes to easily pick up unburned gun powder. To clean around the ports, an aluminum wand coupled with a metal crevice nozzle for corners or bristle wall nozzle to collect debris in uneven surfaces.
  • Compact and portable design so that the vacuum can be easily stored in a cleaning closet or other space away from the range floor.
  • Pre- and post-sales support, your vacuum supplier should find a solution that will fit the needs of your facility and provide product training for your maintenance team.

Products to consider: S2, S3, 118, 118EXP

For more information on industry- and application-specific vacuum cleaners, visit www.nilfiskindustrialvacuums.com.

5 Comments

  1. We need to purchase a spark free vacuum that can be used for unspent black powder. Would you be prepared to come and visit our company to advise us on whcih one we need?
    Regards,
    Alison Leach

    Comment by Alison Leach — November 8, 2013 @ 1:55 am

  2. Hi Alison, thanks for reaching out to us! Please reply with your contact information and I can forward to your local Nilfisk representative. He/she can provide an on-site assessment and recommendations for the pick-up of unspent black powder. You can also email us at questions@nilfisk.com if that is more convenient.

    Best,
    maxine

    Comment by Maxine — November 8, 2013 @ 9:10 am

  3. DO YOU CARRY EXPLOSION PROOF HEPA VAC FOR INDOOR SHOOTING RANGE. MUST BE ABLE TO PICK UP SPENT SHELLS, FRAGMENTED LEAD BULLETS AND UNSPENT GUN POWDER.
    THANK YOU
    CARL ROY
    MARYLAND SMALL ARMS RANGE INC
    MSAR@EROLS.COM
    301-599-0800

    Comment by CARL ROY — December 10, 2013 @ 10:27 pm

  4. Great Post.Thanks for sharing.I think the Proper range cleaning is decrease the risk of lead exposure.

    Comment by Alice Long — January 8, 2014 @ 10:06 pm

  5. Great idea. The vacuum cleaner is a very good product for removing lead dust and retain lead particles.

    Comment by Vanessa Gilbert — February 14, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

Leave a comment