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Originally published May 16, 2013 at 8:10 PM | Page modified May 17, 2013 at 1:15 PM

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Contractor at Wade’s gun range cited for lead exposure

The State Department of Labor and Industries has fined S.D. Deacon for exposing construction workers to toxic lead during remodeling of the gun range at Wade’s Eastside Gun Shop.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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State health and safety officials have fined a construction firm for exposing workers to toxic lead during remodeling of a shooting range at Wade’s Eastside Gun Shop in Bellevue.

The Department of Labor and Industries has fined S. D. Deacon Corp. of Washington $10,750 for nine violations of workplace safety rules during the expansion of the shooting range last fall.

The citation follows an L&I announcement Tuesday that Wade’s had been fined $23,480 for 17 violations, some of them repetitions of violations previously documented by the state.

A total of 47 construction workers and Wade’s employees were found to have elevated levels of lead in their bloodstream. Twenty-four reported symptoms consistent with lead poisoning, Public Health — Seattle & King County reported earlier this year.

The lead dust was carried home by some of the workers. Three women and two children also tested positive for excess lead, a metal that can damage the brain, kidneys and cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems.

The incident is believed to be the most extensive in the state in recent years, both in the number of people affected and the severity of their exposure to lead.

The problems occurred between September and November, when Wade’s workers were “mining” lead bullet fragments from a sand berm and then removing the sand. Construction workers were adding a second floor to the shooting range, also known as Bellevue Indoor Range.

Deacon was the general contractor for the remodeling, which also involved a number of subcontractors.

L&I found in March that another subcontractor, Cimentari Corp./Advanced Masonry Services, failed to provide workers with information and training about lead hazards. No fine was assessed.

Deacon’s alleged violations were all termed serious. Although dust samples in the building before construction showed lead at high concentrations, the contactor failed to do adequate assessments to determine if workers would be exposed to airborne lead levels requiring special protection, L&I said.

The company’s lead compliance plan was deficient, there was a lack of frequent and regular inspections, workers were allowed to leave the work area while wearing lead-contaminated clothing or carrying contaminated equipment, they were not required to wear fit-tested respirators, and there was not adequate employee training, the state agency alleged.

L&I issued the citation to Deacon last Friday and made the action public Thursday. The company has 15 days in which to file an appeal.

Deacon’s business-development director, Bill Valela, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com

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