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RRPedia has been created by Shawn McCadden to help remodelers and others affected by the New EPA Renovation Repair and Painting Rule. 

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Updates on MA RRP Rule From The MA Department of Labor Standards

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Apr 03, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Updates on MA RRP Rule From The MA Department of Labor Standards

MA Department of Labor StandardsAs EPA amends the RRP rule, renovators working in states that have taken over the rule from EPA need to know if and how these states incorporate the changes into their own rule.   Yesterday I inquired with the State of Massachusetts to find out about a few recent amendments and changes.

One of the good things about the state of Massachusetts taking over the RRP rule is that communications with the Department of Labor Standards (DLS) is much easier and much quicker than trying to get answers from EPA.  I also find their staff is much more informed and always helpful.  The Q&A below was conducted completely via email (I sent the questions out of the blue) and I got a complete and what I would call an intuitive response in less than 4 hours!  Credit to the DLS!

 

Here is the Q&A

Paint chip samplingQuestion: Can you tell me if MA allows the lead safe renovation supervisor to take paint chip samples same as EPA does?

DLS Answer: Massachusetts incorporates the federal protocol by reference in our regulation. LSR Supervisors are authorized to sample painted surfaces in accordance with their training.  Of course, they must do adequate sampling for different painting histories of surfaces, document their findings, maintain records of testing and provide documentation to the property owner as required.

 

Question: Does MA require that the firm provide the renovation checklist to owners and tenants within 30 days of completion of final billing, whichever comes first (just like EPA)?

DLS Answer: Yes. DLS has the same documentation requirements as the federal rule.

 

Question:  EPA requires towns and municipalities to become certified firms and have Certified Renovators before doing their own RRP work on town properties that are target housing and or Child Occupied Facilities.   They can however hire out the work to a Certified Firm and therefore would not need to be a Certified Firm if the work is hired out to one.  Does the Massachusetts law follow the same requirements?

DLS Answer:  Yes. Massachusetts mirrors the requirement but offers the opportunity for the fee to be waived for property owners with trained employees working on their own properties.

You can find them listed on our LSRC list published on the DLS web pages.

 

LeadCheck on drywall and plasterQuestion: Also, does MA now recognize LeadCheck for Drywall and Plaster?

DLS Answer: Yes.  But as usual, there is a caveat which is also applicable at the federal level.  When the trained individual takes a sample – s/he must follow the prescribed protocols.  In order to take advantage of the new approval; they must follow the new testing methods and adequately test surfaces.  In some cases, many samples must be taken in order to effectively disclude the work under the rule.

Training Providers will likely being teaching the new methods, however, those who were previously trained will need to justify that they know how to sample in order to validate their findings.  Of course, the safest path is to presume the presence of lead.

 

Question: Any other updates or clarifications I should know about?

DLS Answer: I know you are aware that DLS has been doing enforcement and civil penalties.  We are still interested to have the regulated community provide us feedback to provide better regulations.  I don’t have a specific date but we will certainly let you know when we are going back to public hearings to update our regulation.

Its spring and we are in the field doing compliance checks.

Topics: Enforcement and Inspections, Documentation Considerations, MA RRP Updates, Firm Certification, MA RRP Lead Rules, MA RRP Licensing, Lead Test Kits and Testing, Authorized States, Amendments, RRP Questions

Do My Sub Contractors Need To Be RRP Certified?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, May 27, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

Do My Sub Contractors Need To Be RRP Certified?

RRP Certification requirements for subsThere has been a lot of confusion regarding the details of the EPA RRP rule.  One that seems to pop up over and over is certification requirements for sub contractors.  There are two different certification considerations regarding sub contractors; firm certification and worker certification.  Let’s take a look at each separately.

 

 

Firm Certification for Sub Contractors:

The EPA is very clear on this.  The following question and answer comes from the EPA web site’s FAQ page:

Question: My firm performs renovations covered by the RRP rule, but solely in the capacity of a subcontractor. If the general contractor is a certified firm, does my firm also have to be certified, or can we just provide the certified renovator?

EPA Answer: All firms performing, offering, or claiming to perform renovations covered by the RRP rule must be certified. In this case, both the general contractor and subcontractor must become certified firms.  

 

Certified Firm requirementsWhether working for the general contractor as a trade partner or a 1099 sales person (offers the work), sub contractors must become certified firms by apply for certification through the EPA.   Ensuring that the subs they use are certified firms is particularly important for general contractors, because as part of the required documentation under the rule, the renovation checklist must include the names of all workers who participated in RRP activities on the job.  If a sub contractor and his workers do work on the job and the sub’s firm is not certified, the EPA will easily be able to find both the general contractor and the sub in violation of the rule.  If a general contractor knows that subs must be certified firms, hiring a non-certified firm to work on a job becomes a knowing and willful violation of the rule, which brings with it serious penalties.  It’s also one easy way for a customer’s lawyer to suggest the contractor is/was negligent.

Note: Both Massachusetts and Rhode Island have this same requirement for sub contractors. 

 

Worker Certification for Sub Contractors:

Again, the EPA is very clear on this.  The following question and answer comes from the EPA web site’s FAQ page:

Question: Under the RRP Rule, can a certified renovator supervise workers of a different company, or must each firm involved in a project furnish a certified renovator?

EPA Answer: All firms performing renovations must ensure that all individuals performing renovation activities on behalf of the firm are either certified renovators or have been trained by a certified renovator.  The RRP Rule does not prohibit firms from reaching agreement on which will supply the certified renovator who is responsible for ensuring compliance with the RRP Rule and who directs and trains non-certified workers.  All firms remain liable for ensuring compliance with the RRP Rule.    

 

Who is Liable, The General Contractor or the Sub?

The following question and answer provides clarification regarding the responsibility and liability of the business that is acting as the general contractor:

Question: Is the certified renovator assigned to a specific project responsible for the work practices of other contractors on the project if the certified renovator is an employee of the general contractor of the project?

EPA Answer: All firms performing renovations must ensure that all individuals performing renovation activities on behalf of the firm are either certified renovators or have been trained by a certified renovator. A firm acting as a general contractor may satisfy this requirement by hiring another certified firm that takes responsibility for ensuring that all individuals performing the renovation activities are either certified renovators or have been trained by a certified renovator. With respect to assigning a certified renovator who is responsible for any on-the-job training and regularly directing workers who are not certified renovators, a firm acting as a general contractor my satisfy this requirement by hiring another certified firm that in turn assigns a certified renovator to the job. However, this does not discharge the general contractor's liability to ensure compliance with the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule.

Note: The answer above also applies in Massachusetts, but does not apply in Rhode Island.  In Rhode Island, the RI Lead Hazard Control Standard (Section 14.0) requires the Licensed Lead Hazard Control Firm (LHCF) to have a RI licensed Lead-Safe Remodeler/Renovator (LRM) designee as a condition of licensure.

Topics: RRP Questions, Worker Training, Certified Renovator Training, Subcontractor Considerations, Compliance Options, Legal Considerations, RI Conciderations, Firm Certification, MA RRP Lead Rules

Opportunity to Discuss RRP Rule with MA and EPA Officials

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, May 08, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

Opportunity to Discuss RRP Rule with MA and EPA Officials

The RRP Rule has certainly changed the game for remodelers and remodeling consumers.   I have met with EPA officials in the past to discuss challenges within the rule itself and the challenges created by EPA for those business that are abiding by the rule due to the lack of any serious enforcement to date against violators.  So far, trying to work with EPA has been very frustrating.   Little has been accomplished.  As a result, the underground economy in remodeling has grown, making it difficult for legitimate businesses to compete against it.  This is also in effect poisoning more children as home owners choose to hire non-certified workers who are not using lead-safe practices and or are doing the work themselves without the use of lead-safe practices

MA DLS SealOn the other hand, since taking over the RRP Rule in MA, working with MA state officials has been much more productive. The Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards (DLS), formally called the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety, under the leadership of the department's Director Heather Rowe, has been very receptive to meeting with concerned stakeholders, hearing and recognizing stakeholder's concerns, and working with stakeholders to address their concerns.  Currently, in addition to working on amendments to the RRP regulations in MA to address concerns, the DLS is also finalizing their plans to step up enforcement and compliance actions this spring as the home improvement season begins.  Is it happening as fast as we all might like, no.   However, based on budget and resource realities, I think DLS is doing a good job listening and prioritizing their efforts.

LEHA LogoAs one way to continue their efforts and interact with stakeholders, the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards is looking for additional input from contractors and lead industry practitioners in anticipation of making amendments to the MA RRP regulations. An official from this agency will be participating in a May 18 workshop on the RRP Rule being held in Marlborough, MA sponsored by the Lead and Environmental Hazards Association (LEHA) and will be discussing the Department’s plans for revising the RRP regulations as well as the Department's enforcement efforts.

Also participating in the workshop will be a representative from the MA Department of Health's CLPPP office who will discuss the differences between deleading authorization/licensing and RRP certification, as well as a representative from the EPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics - the agency responsible for EPA’s implementation of the RRP Rule. 

Joining the MA and EPA officials will be industry specialists, including myself and public agency representatives from CT, MA, RI and VT who will address:

 -  How the Prescribed Work Practices are stifling innovation, lead by Shawn McCadden  (Read this for more on this topic)
 -  Variations between RRP, Federal/State Work Practices, OSHA Worker Safety Rules
 -  Promotion and Enforcement Strategies, Including the Use of Building Permits 
 -  Delegation of the RRP Rule by New England States

If you are interested in attending the one-day workshop, go to www.rrprule.com for complete agenda, location and registration details.  I hope I will see you there.

Topics: Enforcement and Inspections, MA RRP Lead Rules, Authorized States, OSHA - EPA Challenges, Effects of the RRP Rule

Deleading vs. RRP Work: What's the Difference?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

Deleading vs. Renovation, Repair and Painting Work: What's the Difference? 

Note:  The following information is from the MA Labor and Workforce Development Web site.

Lead Paint LawsWhile deleading activities conducted in residences and child-occupied facilities often involve work methods similar to those typically used in renovation, repair or painting (RRP) activities, such as replacing windows, painting and installing vinyl siding, the two types of activities are distinct from each other in terms of purpose and effect.

 

Deleading work is work conducted to achieve compliance with the Massachusetts Lead Law through the abatement of lead paint hazards.  Carried through to completion, deleading work leads to the issuance of a document called a Letter of Compliance, which indicates that the property has met deleading requirements administered by the Childhood Lead Poisoning Program of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (CLPPP) under the Massachusetts Lead Law and 105 CMR 460.000. In some instances, deleading work takes place after the owner has received an order to bring the property into compliance with the Massachusetts Lead Law.  In other instances, the owner voluntarily decides to delead the property and seek a Letter of Compliance.

Renovation work (RRP work) is work conducted for a fee that disturbs more than threshold amounts of painted surfaces in pre-1978 residences (target housing) and child-occupied facilities (kindergartens, daycares, etc.), where the purpose of the work is other than the abatement of lead paint hazards or the achievement of a Letter of Compliance.  Renovation work is often carried out to repair, upgrade or beautify the property.

Lead-safe renovation contractor, Lead safe renovation contractorOnce you have made the initial determination regarding whether your project is a renovation project or a deleading project, the next question is how to choose a contractor who is licensed and qualified to perform the work.   Click on the following link to view a helpful guide on choosing a deleading contractor, “Deleader Contractor Information Bulletin.”  Click on the following link to view a helpful guide on choosing a “lead safe” renovation contractor, “Lead Safe Renovation Contractor Information Bulletin.” 

Topics: RRP Questions, RRP in MA, EPA RRP for Dummies, Legal Considerations, Definitions, MA RRP Lead Rules, MA RRP Licensing, Info for Landlords

EM NARI Attends Hearing, Encourages Assistance with RRP Rule in MA.

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 @ 02:08 PM

EM NARI Members Attend Hearing To Encourage Assistance with RRP Rule in Massachusetts.

12/17/10

MA RRP Rule and MA RRP RegulationsYesterday Mark Paskell and I attended a hearing held by the Commonwealth of MA Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.  Interested parties were invited to attend to provide suggestions to Joanne F. Goldstein, the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, regarding how the money appropriated to the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Division of Occupational Safety (DOS) should be spent in Fiscal Year 2012.   Mark and I were there representing the Government Affairs Committee of the Eastern MA Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (EMNARI) and also to share our own personal views. At the meeting we met Mark Casale of Painting and Decorating Specialist, a past National President of the Painting & Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA), who was also there representing his industry’s RRP concerns and encouraging budgetary support related to RRP enforcement.

Although attending the hearing took time away from my busy work and holiday schedules, I was definitely glad I went.   In addition to attending and submitting testimony at the hearing, before the hearing Mark and I also attended a meeting with the MA Division of Occupational Safely to discuss items related to the MA RRP rule, rule administration and rule enforcement.

As I have stated in past blogs and at the RRP Workshops Mark and I present to renovators and their staff, so far I have been very pleased with the efforts of the DOS regarding the RRP Rule.   Under the leadership of Heather E. Rowe, the Department’s Acting Commissioner, we have seen significant progress and improvements here in Massachusetts as compared to EPA’s efforts and the EPA RRP rule.  I have been fortunate to work with several DOS employees regarding the rule; including Patricia Sutliff, Ernest Kelly and Brian Wong.  At our meeting with DOS yesterday, Heather Rowe was also in attendance.  She expressed her support of our ideas, recognized our concerns and thanked us for assisting the DOS in dealing with this complex and often times confusing rule.   DOS, as part of their takeover of the RRP rule from EPA, inherited many of the same challenges renovators face trying to work with the EPA RRP rule.

MA RRP rule enforcementIn my opinion, the ability to work with and interact with the same people who not only enforce the rule in MA, but also have the ability to help shape the MA RRP rule, has been a major plus for those Massachusetts contractors affected by the rule.  At the budget hearing I shared this opinion and stressed that I hoped DOS would get adequate budgeting to keep such communication opportunities available in the future.   Here are a few of the items I suggested at the hearing:

  • DOS should have adequate funding to accomplish public and regulated community awareness about the rule so home owners would know to only hire MA Licensed Lead-Safe Renovation Contractors and to assist in getting those who need to be licensed the information they need to do so.   Right now in MA, there are approximately 29,000 registered Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) businesses but only about 4000 EPA Certified Firms.  Of the 4000 EPA Certified Firms, only approximately 1000 have obtained the required MA Lead-Safe Renovation Contractors License.
  • The EPA claims their rule includes lead-safe work practices, but in reality it does not.  The EPA rule and the required certified renovator training include lead-safe containment practices.  These containment practices actually put workers at greater risk because airborne lead dust becomes concentrated due to the containment, triggering major concerns with worker safety and related OSHA compliance.  The EPA does not included lead-safe work practices or training that help renovators eliminate and or dramatically reduce the creation of lead dust to begin with.  I stressed that the creation of real lead-safe work practices and training programs to share them with workers would have several benefits.  These include a better skilled work force, a higher paid workforce, more taxes collected for the state through payroll taxes on increased wages, compliance with the OSHA Lead In Construction Standards would be easier and less expensive, and the risk of lead poisoning for occupants and those doing the work could be dramatically reduced. 
  • I also stressed the need for and opportunity to educate our children and young workers to prepare them to meet the needs of the residential construction industry.  Teaching lead-safe work practices to students in our state’s vocational and trade schools would help contractors, the students and our state improve worker health and safety in addition to many possible economic benefits for each of the parties.
  • I suggested that one of the big opportunities DOS and the regulated community would have if adequate funding was available would be increased awareness of the RRP rule as well as the serious dangers and health effects of lead.  Increased awareness could help get more businesses properly licensed.  Consumers would be better informed before doing renovations where lead was present and before choosing a contractor to do the work.  If more local building inspectors and health departments across the state knew about the rule they could help with awareness and enforcement.  And, if we educate young school children about the dangers of lead and how to avoid them, in essence we would be creating a next generation of consumers, workers, business owners and parents who could help carry on a legacy of awareness and respect for the dangers and risks of lead poisoning.
  • Both Mark and I stressed the importance of finding and implementing strategies to help level the playing field for honest and hardworking renovators and to help eliminate illegally operating contractors and moonlighters who participate in the underground economy.  We encouraged putting RRP related requirements on building permit applications, putting some skin in the game for home owners who hire illegally operating workers and businesses, and providing timely and accurate information and or answers for those businesses and individuals who are trying to do the right thing and are seeking to comply with the RRP Rule.

 

Eastern MA NARI, EM NARIEM NARI, Mark Paskell, Mark Casale and I are all committed to both protecting and advancing the professionalism of RRP renovators in MA.  The RRP rule is a challenge but also an opportunity for our industry.  If we all work together, as individuals and as members of trade associations to help guide, assist and hold accountable those who regulate us; our industry and consumers will all be much better off.  I hope you will join us in our efforts and or support us in our efforts.  We need all the help and encouragement we can get to help effect change and protect the interests of honest and hardworking professionals affected by the RRP rule.

Topics: RRP in MA, OSHA Considerations, Enforcement and Inspections, MA RRP Updates, MA RRP Lead Rules

An Opportunity to Make Sure Massachusetts Enforces the RRP Rule

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Mon, Dec 13, 2010 @ 03:39 PM

An Opportunity to Make Sure Massachusetts Enforces the RRP Rule

MA DOS and the RRP RuleThe Commonwealth of MA Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development will be holding public hearings where interested parties can attend to provide suggestions to Joanne F. Goldstein, the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, regarding how the money appropriated to the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Division of Occupational Safety (DOS) should be spent in Fiscal Year 2012.

So far I have been very pleased with the efforts of the DOS regarding the RRP Rule.   Under the leadership of Heather E. Rowe, the Department’s Acting Commissioner, we have seen significant progress and improvements here in Massachusetts as compared to EPA’s efforts and the EPA RRP rule.  I have been fortunate to work with several DOS employees regarding the rule.  In my opinion, the ability to work with and interact with the same people who not only enforce the rule, but also have the ability to help shape the rule, has been a major plus for those Massachusetts contractors affected by the rule.  We have discussed many ideas I feel will help level the playing field for legitimate and honest contractors who are challenged by being in competition with those contractors who are operating illegally.  I find the DOS to be open to many of these ideas and they have great ideas to offer as well.

MA RRP EnforcementProper and effective administration and enforcement of the RRP rule will take money.   Because the amount of money the DOS and DOL will get in 2012 is already decided, contractors must voice their opinion as to how they think the money should be spent.   It is my opinion that the money could actually be invested in the health and safety of Massachusetts citizens to protect them from the dangers associated with contractors who ignore lead-safe work practices.  And, if properly and adequately enforced, the RRP rule would not only help to eliminate the underground construction economy here in Massachusetts, it would also help bring in additional revenue for the state in fees to those who get licensed to do the work, in fines to those who operate illegally and in taxes collected if all construction businesses doing RRP work have to pay their equal share of payroll and income taxes.  

I will being going to the hearing on Thursday December 16th.  I hope you will join me in my efforts and attend one of the hearings to express your opinion.  Remember, the purpose of the hearing is to discuss the budget.  Please keep your comments pointed towards constructive solutions, protecting the health of MA children and other citizens, and stress support for protecting the interests of legitimate contractors who already contribute their fair share of taxes to support our government.

Here is the Notice:

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development will hold two public hearings to allow interested parties to provide their comments to Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein as part of our fiscal year 2012 budget recommendation. These hearings are scheduled as follows: 

Hearing 1 – Boston, MA

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Charles F. Hurley Building, Minihan Hall

19 Staniford Street, 6th floor

Boston, MA

11:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.


Hearing 2 – Taunton, MA

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Taunton Career Center

72 School Street

Taunton, MA

4:30 P.M. to 6:30 P.M.

 

Written comment is encouraged prior to the hearing.  Parties may also submit written comments at the hearing or through December 22, 2010.  Please address comments to:

Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein

Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development

One Ashburton Place, Suite 2112

Boston, MA 02108

Topics: RRP in MA, Enforcement and Inspections, MA RRP Updates, MA RRP Lead Rules

Massachusetts RRP Regulations Require Use of a Sign-in/out Log

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Nov 17, 2010 @ 07:00 AM

Massachusetts RRP Regulations Require Use of a Sign-in/out Log At Containment Areas

RRP SignOne of the differences between the EPA RRP Rule and the Massachusetts RRP Rule is that Massachusetts requires the Licensed Lead-Safe Renovation Contractor (firm) to maintain a sign in/out log, just like the one required for deleading contractors,  for workers who enter and exit the contained work area during RRP renovations. 

 

According to section 22.13 (2) (e) of the MA RRP Regulations, titled “Record Keeping Requirements”, contractors must maintain a sign in/out log as required by 454 CMR 22.12(1)(a)10

Here is what the MA RRP regulations 454 CMR 22.12(1) (a) 10 state about this containment sign in log, sign out log:

“The Deleading Contractor or other entity carrying out a Class I Deleading Project shall ensure that each person entering or leaving the work area individually completes the appropriate entries in a sign in/out log.  The sign in/out log shall include: the location of the project; current date; printed name; signed name; Massachusetts License number, where applicable; and the time of entry or exiting.”

RRP Sign in log

To help renovators with this requirement I have created a sign in/out log sheet that I am making available as a free download.  Use of the free sign in and out log is at your own risk.  If you have any suggestions to improve the form please feel free to let me know.   I hope this helps.

If you haven’t done so already, you can subscribe to RRPedia in the blue box at the top right of this page.  By doing so, you will receive instant e-mail notification when new articles like this one when they are posted to RRPedia.

Click here to request the free RRP sign in/out log sheet.

If you are looking for forms and signage to help you with comply with the EPA RRP rule, I recommend you check out what The Lead Paint Forms Store has to offer.

Topics: Documentation Considerations, MA RRP Lead Rules, Info for Landlords

Know the Difference Between RRP and Deleading To Avoid Breaking The Law

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Nov 03, 2010 @ 01:37 PM

Know the Difference Between RRP and Deleading To Avoid Breaking The Law

According to the Massachusetts Lead Law, any apartment unit or single family home with an occupant who is less than six years old must be deleaded. I bet if you are a Massachusetts resident you probably had no idea that this law existed. If you live outside of Massachusetts, you may want to find out if a similar law exists.

RRP and Deleading Deleading under the MA Lead Law requires the removal or covering of lead paint hazards in homes built before 1978 where any children under six live. Lead paint hazards include loose lead paint and lead paint on windows and other surfaces accessible to children. Owners are responsible with complying with the law. This includes owners of rental property as well as owners living in their own single family home. After deleading is completed, homes are "lead-safe", not "lead-free." In Massachusetts, financial help to accomplish deleading is available through tax credits, grants and loans.

 

Renovators need to understand that RRP work is not deleading. Your certification and or licensing to do RRP work does not qualify you to do deleading. If deleading is the customer’s purpose for doing the work, only a licensed deleader can do the work unless the property owner does the work himself. (If you are a MA property owner contemplating deleading work, see the note below)

RRP Instructor and RRP TrainingAt a recent RRP Workshop I presented in Marlborough MA, one of the attendees, wanted to make sure that everyone in the room understood the difference between RRP work and deleading. In the video below Lawrence “Skip” Moran of Lawrence J Moran, a licensed deleader and remodeling contractor, offers some clarification to help renovators avoid potential violations, fines and or challenges with their customers. Although some of the terms Skip uses in the video may be specific to Massachusetts, renovators around the country should heed what he has to say and check into deleading laws where they work before offering or performing deleading services for clients and or doing deleading at their own rental properties

 

Ma Lead Laws for Landlords

 

Note: In Massachusetts, an owner or agent (someone working for an owner without a deleader's license) can perform some specific tasks, but cannot begin any of those tasks until:

  1. The home is inspected by a licensed lead inspector
  2. The owner or agent is properly trained to perform the deleading work

For more information about what work may be done by an owner or agent and how to become trained, call the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 1-800-532-9571

For more information about RRP for landlords in MA, contact the MA Department of Occupational Safety (DOS) at 1-617-969-7177

Topics: EPA RRP for Dummies, Sales Considerations, Compliance Options, Legal Considerations, Definitions, MA RRP Lead Rules, Info for Landlords, Videos

Contractors and Subs Doing EPA RRP Work Will Need to Work Things Out

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Sep 03, 2010 @ 01:50 PM

Renovators And Their Trade Partners Will Need To Work Out And Agree On Who Will Do What

Confused RenovatorMany contractors seeking to comply with the new EPA RRP rule are reporting concerns and challenges about finding trade partners who are willing to operate in compliance.  Many renovators have told me that their trade partners have flat out refused to get their businesses and workers certified.  Others have said their trade partners have committed to do so but have been slow to get it done due to the related costs.  This has become quite an opportunity for some trade partners who have become certified and are marketing their certifications and services to general contractors. Several are actually offering to sub-contract the set-up, containment, demo, clean-up, cleaning verification and all related and required documentation for general contractors.

A surprise to me, but also a no-brainer, was one electrician’s comment that he was having problems finding general contractors to work for who were in RRP compliance.  Just as general contractors need to find new compliant trade partners to work for them, many trade partners are finding they can no longer rely on the volume of work they got in the past from contractors if those businesses choose to operate illegally.

Liability risks may also drive compliance.  Renovators and their trade partners will need to work out and agree on who will do what.  Here are a few examples:

  • Renovate Right PamphletWho will take care of the notification requirements and documentation of same before the job begins?  Under the rule, either can do so, but the business under contract with the property owner must maintain the required documentation.

  • If a trade partner or his employees are not certified renovators, will the renovator take on the responsibility of training and supervising the trade partner and or his employees?  If so, at what level of risk? And, will either business’s insurance company allow such a relationship in the future?  

  • Who will create the required renovation checklist?

  • Who will make sure the homeowner and or tenant receives a copy of the required renovation checklist after completion of the work? 

  • In Massachusetts, who will maintain the required log documenting who comes in and out of the containment area during the course of renovations?

Finger pointingThe first time a RRP fine is accessed for a violation the finger pointing will start, causing one or both businesses to get serious about certification and compliance.  The first time a renovator is sued by a client or neighbor as a result of the actions of a trade partner, the tactics used by the lawyers will cause both businesses to have a new and different outlook on RRP compliance, insurance coverage amounts and indemnification clauses.  Attorney Mike Sams of Kenney & Sams, P.C., told me that failure of a business to be properly certified under the RRP rule on its own is evidence of negligence should a homeowner or insurance company take the contractor or trade partner to court.  Taking this a little further, a contractor hiring a non-certified trade partner might also be considered negligence if that trade partner is allowed to work unsupervised.

IRS LogoTo confuse matters even further, under their definition of the difference between an employee and an independent contractor, the IRS says that a contractor cannot supervise the work or workers of a sub contractor.  Doing so might result in the IRS labeling the sub contractor as an employee. If this were to happen it could trigger addition payroll taxes and workers compensation costs for the general contractor.

Topics: Production Considerations, Subcontractor Considerations, Notification Considerations, Compliance Options, Enforcement and Inspections, Legal Considerations, Documentation Considerations, MA RRP Lead Rules, Shawn's Predictions, Insurance Considerations, Effects of the RRP Rule

Nervous Neighbors Will Keep EPA and MA RRP Renovators On Their Toes

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Sep 01, 2010 @ 01:17 PM

Uninformed and Nervous Neighbors Will Keep RRP Renovators On Their Toes

Awareness about lead and the potential effects of lead poisoning may not yet be prevalent with the public, but it will quickly increase.  Renovators need to deal with this reality in a proactive way.  Training and firm certification are great first steps.  But, renovators will need to do much more to protect their businesses from potential challenges and liabilities triggered by an uniformed public.

 

EPA Sippy Cup ad

First, the EPA’s public awareness campaign has already begun.  The campaign warns people of the dangers of lead, but does little to make them aware of the RRP rule, the need to work with renovators who are certified in lead-safe work practices, and or how to find a certified firm to oversee work on the homes they live in.  So, in effect, the campaign warns the public but leaves them basically ignorant of their options. (Click on the sample ad to the left to view in full size)

 

Lead sign with skullSecond, the warning signs and barriers required to be put in place around exterior and common area containment areas will have a similar effect of raising concern.  Unless properly educated about their options and about lead-safe work practices, neighbors and the parents of children attending child occupied facilities will again suffer from ignorance about lead.  Many will likely react out of fear.   This fear may potentially result in reporting a renovator and causing an inspection, even if the renovation work is being done within compliance. 

 

GuiltyRemember, as a business you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent at your own expense.  An OSHA and or RRP inspector will likely be able to find at least one violation of some rule if they show up at one of your jobsites.  Some inspectors may even feel it is their obligation to find a violation.  The cost to defend yourself might be as high as the cost of any fines, so even if you win you lose. In Massachusetts, the Department of Occupational Safety (DOS) is already collaborating with OSHA regarding what to do if either finds a violation that should be referred to the other.  Oh, and don’t forget those neighbors who have a bone to pick with your customer, have nothing else to do all day, and or are just plain paranoid.

 

Topics: OSHA Considerations, Enforcement and Inspections, Legal Considerations, MA RRP Lead Rules, Shawn's Predictions, Effects of the RRP Rule