----- Original Message -----
From: "Gary Marbut-MSSA" <mssa@mtssa.org>
To: <mssa@mtssa.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 5:33 PM
Subject: OSHA, lead and Montana shooting ranges

> Dear MSSA Friends,
> Because of recent reports of OSHA interest in inspecting Montana
> ranges for lead pollution, I've written some information about that,
> posted below.
> I will soon get this up on the MSSA Website as well.
> Best wishes,
> Gary Marbut, president
> Montana Shooting Sports Association
> Montana Shooting Sports Association
> author, Gun Laws of Montana
> Gun Laws of Montana
> ============================
> OSHA and Montana Shooting Ranges
> (February 5, 2009)
> The "Area Director" for the Occupational Safety and Health
> Administration (OHSA) located in Billings has recently sent
> correspondence to more than one range-operating gun group in
> Montana. They are asking to inspect the club's facilities for
> compliance with federal regulations regarding lead pollution. The
> letters seen so far have been addressed to "Indoor Firing Range Employer."
> If your club receives such a letter, how should you respond?
> If your club doesn't have an indoor range, you should respond, by
> mail, return receipt requested, informing the sender that you do not
> have or maintain an indoor range - nothing more.
> If your club doesn't have any employees, you should respond, by mail,
> return receipt requested, informing the sender that you do not have
> any employees - nothing more.
> Having employees triggers OSHA's authority. No employees, no authority.
> There are reports that teams of two OSHA employees may attempt to
> crowd their way into a facility using bluster or innocuous comments
> such as "We just want to look around." If they are allowed in, they
> will inspect every inch of the facility trying to uncover
> violations. One will take LOTS of photographs while the other hunts
> for possible violations.
> Because of this intrusiveness and the "fishing expedition" nature of
> these visits, it is recommended that you NOT give them permission to
> enter your facility unless they have a court order. If their
> authority over your facility is genuine, they will be able to get a
> court order. Otherwise not.
> If OHSA personnel should subsequently return with a court order, the
> personnel should absolutely be limited to inspecting ONLY that which
> is listed on the court order. Any court order should specify what
> they may inspect. Any documents that are not identified on their
> face as coming from a court are not a court order. A valid court
> order should have the name and location of the issuing court, an
> original signature by the issuing judge or magistrate, and should
> narrowly specify what the personnel are allowed to inspect.
> Whatever paperwork is presented, you should ask for a copy of what is
> offered. If the visiting personnel did not bring copies for you, you
> should ask to run the papers offered through your copy
> machine. Also, these visiting OSHA personnel should possess
> government-issued, photo ID cards that identify them specifically as
> OSHA personnel having inspection/enforcement powers and duties. It
> is recommended that you record all information on any IDs presented,
> photocopy if you can.
> Whether indoor or outdoor, all Montana shooting ranges are advised to
> be cautious about having employees. Again, having employees is what
> gives OSHA authority and access to your facility. If your club
> reimburses any club officers or members for materials provided for
> your range, be sure to mark the paying check as a reimbursement and
> be sure the payment goes on your books that way. If your club is
> paying anyone providing services at your range, make sure that that
> person is operating as an "independent contractor." Talk to a local
> CPA about what that means and how your club should arrange the work
> and arrange to pay the contractor for that person to qualify as an
> "independent contractor" (or "outside service").
> If your club has an indoor range AND documentable employees AND gets
> a letter from OSHA wanting to inspect your facility, it is
> recommended that you contact Eric Smart of MCS Environmental in
> Missoula at 728-7755. Eric is a longtime and dedicated shooter and
> hunter, and is more familiar with OSHA regulations and procedures
> than you want to become. Environmental consulting and remediation
> are Eric's business - that's how he makes his living. So, if you
> need him, don't be surprised that he charges you for his service, but
> remember that he is your friend and knows a lot about this issue.
> If your club gets to the point where it needs legal assistance to
> resolve any OSHA problems, call Lee Bruner of Butte, an attorney with
> Poore, Roth and Robinson, at 497-1200. Remember that this is also
> Lee's business, so don't expect to call him and visit at length
> without a bill. You negotiate that with Lee. His time is
> valuable. However, Lee is also a dedicated shooter and hunter and
> has been willing to study up on the OSHA/lead issue. So you don't
> have to wonder if he's on your side and you don't have to pay his
> time to get generally up to speed about OSHA and lead.
> Jim McDonald of Missoula is on the Board of the organization that
> owns the Deer Creek Shooting Center. Because Jim owns a
> manufacturing business, he also has experience with OSHA. He is
> willing to receive calls at 251-3800 x 2222 about OSHA and ranges.
> For any other shooting range issues, explore the "Shooting Ranges"
> portion of the Montana Shooting Sports Association website at
> Montana Shooting Sports Association or send an email to MSSA at: mssa AT mtssa.org.