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Police headquarters cleaned to thwart workplace illness from lead

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is requiring a Connecticut police department to clean its building due to the existence of excessively high lead levels throughout many areas of the department. The resulting bill could cost upwards of $10,000 as the headquarters undergoes thorough cleansing to prevent future workplace illness.

Last November, the Connecticut OSHA received an anonymous complaint and proceeded to visit the department to investigate. Lead was found in the shooting range, an office next to the range, and an emergency operation command area. Though the department uses bullets that are said to be lead free, the firing pin of a bullet still contains trace amounts of lead. Over time, this has resulted in an accumulation of lead in the shooting range and adjacent areas. Extended lead exposure can cause a range of medical issues, including seizures and miscarriages. The affected areas of the department have been closed since the initial complaint last fall, and all officers were given training on lead safety.

Employees concerned with possible safety hazards or that experience an injury at their workplace have the right to file a complaint with OSHA. If a subsequent investigation reveals an OSHA violation is the cause, a workers' compensation claim may be able to help the employee recover some of the medical expenses associated with long-term effects of exposure to toxic chemicals in the workplace.

Employees left suffering after an employer overlooks OSHA violations deserve compensation for their resulting injuries or illnesses. Workers' compensation claims offer some assistance and reassurance to workers who suffer from unsafe working environments.

Source: Wilton Bulletin, "Wilton police headquarters full of lead," Christopher Burns, Aug. 24, 2014

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