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Your Interactive Resource for EPA RRP Information

RRPedia logoLooking for accurate information about the EPA RRP rule?

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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RRP Rule: Is it a Sheep in Wolf's Clothing?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, May 23, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

RRP Rule: Is it a Sheep in Wolf's Clothing?

Joe Levitch

 

One Person’s Opinion: This is a guest blog submitted by Joe Levitch of Levco Builders to express his opinion.  Joe is a remodeling contractor and he is also a Licensed Lead Inspector, Licensed Risk assessor  and the owner of Lead Locators, a lead inspection firm in Boise Idaho. He comments and contributes to RRPedia quite often.  If you would like to express your opinion or offer something of value for RRPedia visitors let me know.

 

Is RRP a Sheep in Wolf's Clothing?

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?

It has been 2 years now and the EPA's RRP rule has been an enigma to deal with. What I envisioned as game changing regulation has turned out to be a sheep in wolfs clothing. I expected a year of educating the public through infomercials and campaigns, Then some head turning enforcement. Sadly I was and have been consistently disappointed. I expected my fellow remodelers to understand intuitively that the old days of dusty demolition were over and adopt the new rules, but there I go again over estimating my industry.

Resistance to change seems to dominate

Turns out remodelers like everyone else wants to do as little as possible and get by. Change is painful I suppose, most would rather spend energy disputing scientific facts than getting their act together and incorporating lead testing and LSWP into their SOP'S.

I have talked till blue in the face about the federal law and the mandate that RRP imposed back in April of 2010 but in my little hamlet of Boise Idaho there has been no known enforcement. I do see a trend however in the industry. We are getting a few more requests to verify contractors are using Best Practices when LSWP is in process. I am also getting an up tic in the number of test requests for lead testing, so the news is not all bad.

OSHA Lead in Construction

 

There have been a few reports of fines, but they are not close to home or particularly relevant to the remodeling industry. Most are for failure to use the Renovate Right Booklet. OSHA has become a bit more worrisome to contractors than it used to be. Their requirements are far more burdensome and onerous. I seriously doubt many remodeling firms are in compliance with their rules.

Lead Awareness Committee

Contractors are "Leaded-Out"

I still sense a general disdain for the RRP rule along with general confusion, but a reluctant sluggish move towards compliance.

I set up a Lead Awareness committee for my NARI group and after an enthusiastic push to get everyone up to date and compliant, I was told to back off with the education and speakers " We are a little leaded-out right now"

I have had no problem explaining to my clients that lead testing saves money. Perhaps it is just the delivery I use? Doing leaded work has been difficult. I can see how one can develop heat exhaustion or worse in little or no time. Monitor your folks for hydration and schedule cooling off time.

On testing and the Opt-Out

I am saddened by remodeling organizations asking congress to repeal RRP or allow opt out. It is a huge step backwards. Having swabs check for lead in drywall and plaster was a foolish thing to allow too. I read that there is a 98% false positive when used in this way. That is why the EPA could care less. (Click here for clarity on false positives)

The swabs test for the presence of lead. We don't need to do LSWP unless there is over 1mg/cm 2.  3M is laughing all the way to the bank, homeowners and contractors alike are using LSWP unnecessarily in many cases now.

XRF GunMy advice to every remodeler is to find a company with an XRF that can do a test and produce a report that can be used as a tool to deal with lead above the regulatory limit. Get fluent in using LSWP. Check each other to make sure no one is poisoning their clients or their pets and lets be professional about it.

My company has teamed up with some painters that are certified firms and have done testing on all proposed renovations on all pre '78 homes. Many of them are leaded, most have only a few components that require LSWP. We have also had tiles tested and found a many of them to be leaded in a very high percentage. I believe tile should be assumed to be leaded and demolished with care.

Let's do the right thing

In closing I applaud those that have incorporated RRP into their business. The EPA has been looking into new ways to track compliance and performing enforcement. I encourage those that are resisting change to get on board before the EPA fines you, or worse, you make someone sick.  Ask those of us that are dealing with the rule how we have managed and let's set ourselves apart from our competition by doing the right thing.

Topics: OSHA Considerations, Enforcement and Inspections, Lead Test Kits and Testing, Opinions from Renovators, Guest Blogs, Opt Out Related

Another Example of the Government Not Following Its Own Lead Rules

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Feb 26, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Another Example of the Government Not Following Its Own Lead Paint Rules

Did you know that our government has created its own exceptions to the rules and punishments it imposes on the rest of us?   Think insider trading rules for Congress.  One more example of this is that Federal agencies are required to comply with the same OSHA health and safety standards as private sector employers, but OSHA can’t propose monetary penalties against them for failure to comply with its standards.

National Park Service Violates Lead In Construction StandardsA recent example of this related to lead in construction is discussed in an OSHA News Release dated May 10, 2011.  According to the release OSHA had issued 16 notices of unhealthful and unsafe working conditions to the National Park Service-San Juan National Historic Site for violations of workplace health and safety standards, including exposing workers to lead and other hazards during lead paint encapsulation work in a building at the site. 

According to the release, The National Park Service was cited with violations related to lead hazards and included; not training employees on the recognition and avoidance of lead hazards, not conducting an initial lead exposure assessment, allowing lead to accumulate on floors, not providing clean change areas, not providing for laundering of protective clothing, allowing employees to leave the work area wearing protective clothing, inadequate hand-washing facilities and not notifying workers of their blood lead levels.

To make matters worse, OSHA considered these violations “willful”.  According to OSHA a willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Also according to OSHA, a serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Fit testing a respiratorAt the San Juan National Historic Site project eight alleged serious violations resulted from a lack of medical evaluations and fit-testing for employees using respirators, improper storage of compressed gas cylinders, no eye-wash stations where employees worked with corrosive products, an uncovered electrical receptacle, a lack of hazard communication training and material data sheets of the products used, and not implementing hazard communication and written respiratory protection programs.

Hilda Solis“There is a new sheriff in town. Make no mistake about it; the Department of Labor is back in the enforcement business…  Under my watch, enforcement of labor laws will be intensified to provide an effective deterrent to employers who put their workers’ lives at risk.”
-Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, (March 2009)

Under Executive Order 12196 and Section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the head of each federal agency is responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for employees. However, like many government jobs, there is typically no punishment if they don’t.  What would it have cost your business if it had committed the same violations?  According to Puerto Rico area director Jose A. Carpena, the identified hazards would have resulted in fines of $115,000 for a private sector employer. “The National Park Service must take effective action to correct these hazards and prevent them from occurring again,” he added.

Topics: OSHA Considerations, Enforcement and Inspections, Violation Reports, Non-RRP Lead Topics

RRP Demo and Asbestos Removal Share Similar Risks and Work Practices

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 @ 06:00 AM

Guest Blog: RRP Demolition and Asbestos Removal Share Similar Risks and Work Practices

Rachel Gilner

 

 

Guest Blogger: Rachel Gilner is an Outreach Coordinator for Asbestos.com.  She specializes in asbestos awareness, education, and safety issues within the online community.  You can follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter for the latest asbestos and mesothelioma updates.

 

RRP Demolition and Asbestos Removal Share Similar Risks and Work Practices  

In 2008 the EPA began forcing contractors to abide by the RRP Rule regarding lead and its health hazard.  As noted in the rule, certification is required when working with homes built prior to 1978, which is also the same time period asbestos was commonly used in building homes.  Like lead, asbestos is an extreme health risk for contractors and homeowners.  Since asbestos removal is not required by law it often goes unnoticed by contractors.  Asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma, a rare cancer in the lining of the lungs.

If There’s Lead, There’s Probably Asbestos

Asbestos on pipingThe EPA created the RRP Rule because lead is found in many products in homes.  Asbestos was also used frequently in homes in similar products such as paint, floor tiles, roofing tiles, and water pipes.  It is safe to assume that where lead is present, asbestos is also near.   Asbestos is only a serious health hazard when it is disturbed, which means during renovations the fibers may be set airborne and inhaled by workers. 

Best Practices for Asbestos are Similar to Lead

According to the RRP Rule workers are required to remain up-to-date on training and lead-safe work practices.  Although the only current laws regarding asbestos removal are for abatement companies and not contractors, safe handling is still important all around. Here are some good rules of thumb:

  1. Asbestos Removal signageAssume asbestos is present if you are working with an older home if it has not been tested by the owners
  2. Post warning signs around the area containing asbestos
  3. Wear a HEPA certified protective face mask to avoid inhaling asbestos dust fibers
  4. Wet down asbestos particles you may see to avoid them from becoming airborne
  5. Change your clothes before returning home and keep work clothes away from family members

Protecting Your Workers

Although asbestos is not included in the RRP Rule, companies should still be concerned about the health and well-being of their workers.  Workers are protected under OSHA, and have the right to a safe workplace.  The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe working conditions.  It would be in the best interest of employers to be aware of lead or asbestos on the premises.  If a proper test has not been performed you should always assume lead or asbestos is present until it is proven otherwise

For additional information on Asbestos visit Asbestos.com.  If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos and would like to speak with someone directly our advocates can be reached directly at 800-815-7924.

 

Topics: OSHA Considerations, Personal Protection, Work Practices, Guest Blogs

Double Trouble for RRP Renovators: OSHA and EPA to Work Together

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Feb 07, 2012 @ 02:55 PM

Double Trouble for RRP Renovators: OSHA and EPA to Work Together

I just became aware of a recent Memorandum of Understanding between OSHA and EPA that outlines how the two separate government agencies will work together in Region One (the northeast).  The memorandum clearly explains that the purpose of working together will be to “improve and optimize the combined efforts of the parties to achieve protection of workers, the public, and/or the environment at facilities subject to EPA and/or OSHA jurisdiction”.   The memorandum was not dated, and although it had place holders for the date in the signature area, neither agency’s Regional Administrator signing the memorandum dated their signature.

EPA and OSHA working together, joint inspections

The memorandum further explains the process and framework for notification, training, consultation, and coordination between them to more effectively support the two agencies’ enforcement programs.  It specifically lists two special enforcement initiatives:

  • OSHA’s Lead in Construction standard
  • EPA’s Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule

I found out about this memorandum at the Contractor Coaching Partnership Blog titled “Region 1 EPA and OSHA to work together on RRP/OSHA enforcement”.  In the blog Mark Paskell highlights from the memorandum some of the ways OSHA and EPA will work together.  Here is one highlight renovators will be sure to find sobering:

“EPA and OSHA may conduct joint inspections as appropriate to carry out the purposes of their respective statutory authorities. Such inspections may be coordinated in advance but may also be scheduled on an ad-hoc basis.”

RRP Violations, OSHA violations, OSHA and RRP violationsWith spring only a short time away, contractors will soon be working outdoors again in the northeast.  This will make the work they do and the work practices they use much more visible to OSHA and EPA.  Consider yourself warned and get ready.  In additional to the work practices required under RRP rules, there are plenty of OSHA regulations and requirements as well.  If you don’t have written safety plans for the work your business performs, or if you have not provided the required safety training and equipment for your workers, you might become an easy target. 

Whether guilty or not, know your rights as a business if you are visited.  As a business, if written up by a government agency, you will be considered guilty until you prove your innocence, at your own expense.   How you handle the visit can make a big difference.  See this previous RRPedia post for guidance on how to handle a request for information should either OSHA or EPA drop by to collect information or send a request your way.

Topics: OSHA Considerations, Enforcement and Inspections, OSHA - EPA Challenges, EPA Announcements

Labels, Signs and Printers for RRP – and Beyond: Guest Blog

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jul 14, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

Labels, Signs and Printers for RRP – and Beyond

 

Steve Stephenson, Duralabel

 

 

 

 

Guest Blogger: Steve Stephenson is the Managing Director for Graphic Products at DuraLabel

 

You’ve been reading about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule which requires contractors performing renovation, repair and painting (RRP) projects that disturb lead-based paint in dwellings where children under six and/or pregnant women live to be certified and follow particular work practices including using signs and labels to prevent lead contamination.

EPA 40 CFR 745.85 states that firms must post signs clearly defining the work area and warning occupants and other persons not involved in renovation activities to remain outside of the work area. These signs must be in the primary language of the occupants. The signs must be posted before beginning the renovation and must remain in place and readable until the renovation and the post-renovation cleaning verification is completed.

The EPA says that signs and labels must adhere to this hierarchy:

  • The word “Warning” must be placed at the top of the sign
  • Underneath “Warning,” the sign must say “Lead Work Area”
  • Under that, “Poison”
  • Finally, under “Poison,” the sign must say “No drinking, eating or smoking”

These types of warning signs and labels typically may be purchased pre-printed in bulk. Other types of signs are also often required. These are custom signs and labels for commercial jobs, final inspections and re-labeling painted pipes and drains. There are a number of approaches to making these signs and labels, too.  

Consider:

  • How frequently you’ll need to create new signs and labels
  • How critical is visibility? Weather-resistance?
  • Sign and label placement – indoors or outdoors?
  • The ability to bring your printer to the jobsite for on the fly labels

The new DuraLabel Toro printer, for example, is battery-powered for mobility, comes with software for pipe marking and custom label design and prints one half inch to four inch wide labels at any length. Light adhesive tape supplies are repositionable and adhere to a variety of surfaces and textures – important when you need to place a label on a wall or in a kitchen that you’re in the midst of preparing to paint.

“I think that being able to re-apply the signs is a huge advantage as walls and finish surfaces tend to change during construction,” said Geoffrey Shafer, PEGASUS Design-To-Build.

As many contractors fit the DIY profile, we’re pretty sure that they’ll opt for creating their own signs and labels when they need them.

 

For more information about the DuraLabel family of mobile printers and rugged supplies for contractors, contact Steve Stephenson, Managing Director, Graphic Products and visit www.DuraLabel.com.

Topics: OSHA Considerations, Compliance Options, Tools and Supplies, Guest Blogs, Signage

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

What You Don’t Know About Respirators and Probably Would Rather Not Know

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Dec 16, 2010 @ 06:00 AM

What You Don’t Know About Respirators and Probably Would Rather Not Know

On December 2nd I attended an RRP/OSHA Respiratory and Worker Protection Workshop put on by The Contractor Coaching Partnership and Safety Trainers.   The workshop was really helpful for me.  It helped me tie together some of my open questions and concerns regarding OSHA requirements and compliance as they relate to RRP related work activities for employees.

Respirators for RRP workWhile at the workshop I found one thing the main instructor Darcy Cook of Safety Trainers said to be very important for contractors to be aware of.   Under the OSHA Lead in Construction Standard, contractors must assume their employees will be exposed to lead above OSHA’s established action level requiring the use of respirators until they actually conduct air monitoring testing to prove otherwise.

This means that respirators must be worn while doing RRP work until the testing is done and a written respirator plan is put in place that details when a respirator is required and when it is not.   Engineering controls can be used to limit the creation and or spread of lead dust while work is performed.  The requirement to wear the respirator or not all depends on the kind of work being done as well as how the work is performed. 

For example; the sanding of painted surfaces.  If dry hand sanding is done, a respirator will definitely be required.   If wet sanding is done a respirator may not be required.  If the sanding is being done using a sander attached to a functioning HEPA Vac that captures all sanding dust, a respirator is probably not required.   The previous sentence is qualified with “may” and “probably not” on purpose.  The only way to know if a respirator is required or not is to monitor the air for lead dust while the work is actually being performed.

The chart below is from the EPA Certified Renovator Manual.  The chart shows exposure levels of airborne leaded dust for some common renovation activities.   OSHA’s permissible exposure limit (PEL) for workers is 50 Micrograms per centimeter squared (50 µg/m3).   If exposed over the PEL, workers must wear respirators.  All three activities in the chart exceed the PEL.

 

Airborne leaded dust, OSHA PEL   

Respirator fit testing and OSHA Respirator Fit Testing RequirementsSo, under OSHA requirements, before allowing them to do RRP related work or even enter a contained work area, employees must first be sent to a physician to be sure they are healthy enough to wear a respirator. Then they must be fit tested by a professional and provided with a properly fitted respirator that protects them from worst case lead exposure scenarios based on the kind of work they do. They must also be trained how to select, use, clean and store a respirator.   And, they must wear the respirator until the air monitoring testing is done to identify when a respirator is required and when it is not depending on how the work is performed and what engineering controls are being used.

Although these OSHA requirements are not new, the majority of residential contractors are not aware of them.  Unfortunately, ignorance of the requirements will not be an excuse if OSHA inspects one of your projects and or one of your employees is poisoned by lead.   Perhaps it would have been helpful if EPA had included the above information in the required eight hour certified renovator training when showing the chart above.

 

Click here for more information about Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) required for RRP work

Click here for more about what you need to know about Respirators when doing EPA RRP work

Click here for OSHA standards for cleaning a respirator

Topics: Worker Training, OSHA Considerations, Personal Protection, Compliance Options, Work Practices, Tools and Supplies, Health Effects of Lead, OSHA - EPA Challenges, Info for Trainers

Six Ways Non-Compliance with The RRP Rule Could Affect Your Business

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Dec 14, 2010 @ 07:00 AM

Six Ways Non-Compliance with The RRP Rule Could Affect Your Business

RRP Risks for contractorsRenovators should be aware that in addition to EPA or administering states, other individuals or entities may likely take advantage of the documentation requirements to hold renovators accountable for their actions or lack thereof.

 

 

Here is a partial list of possible time bombs for renovators who are not in compliance with the new RRP lead laws:

  • Lawyers could use non-compliance with the RRP rule to demonstrate negligence by the renovator.   Even if allegations of negligence have nothing to do with lead or the RRP rule, non-compliance with RRP documentation requirements will be easy to prove and will be an easy way for suing clients and their lawyers to argue that if negligent with RRP requirements, a contractor could also be negligent in other areas.
  • Insurance companies could use a lack of compliance to deny coverage.  Several insurance agents have told me that insurance companies will soon be requiring proof of RRP compliance, both for the GC as well as subs the GC uses, before renewing general liability and workers compensation policies.  Insurance and the cost of a policy are all about risk.  Renovators not in compliance with the RRP rule increase the risk insurers take when they write insurance policies
  • Home owners could use lack of RRP compliance to avoid paying their renovator.  Think of it as blackmail.   If the renovator did not follow RRP requirements, their customers could avoid paying for services by threatening to report non-compliance.  Think this is farfetched?  One contractor told me he knows of another contractor who already had this happen to him.
  • Employees could use non-compliance against employers. Whether an employee really is affected by lead or not, it will be very easy for employees to prove their employers put them at risk and or were negligent in protecting them on the job by simply referring to the worker protection training and methods taught to them during the required eight hour certified renovator training class. 
  • Storing RRP DocumentationOSHA could use RRP paperwork to prove non-compliance with its Lead in Construction Standards.   OSHA’s worker protection requirements related to lead are very specific.   Information contained in the required RRP documentation, particularly the renovation checklist and non-certified worker training documentation, could easily be used to show workers were not adequately trained and or protected when working in contained work areas.  A lack of the required documentation could also be used by OSHA to demonstrate negligence by the business. 
  • A renovator may want to store RRP documentation for a lot longer than the three years required by the RRP rule.  In regards to lead poisoning, the statute of limitations for children doesn’t start until they are 18 years old.  If a child, rather than their parents, decides to sue a renovator for lead poisoning, having the documentation to prove lead safe work practices will be an importance defense for the renovator.  If the documentation is no longer in existence, or never existed to begin with, proving compliance will be difficult or impossible.

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.  They offer a complete assortment of multi-part carbon forms, signage and checklists to assist you and your employees with RRP compliance

Topics: Worker Training, OSHA Considerations, Legal Considerations, Documentation Considerations, Health Effects of Lead, Insurance Considerations, Effects of the RRP Rule

RRP Rule Could Be A Ticking Time Bomb For Many Contractors

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Dec 12, 2010 @ 12:35 PM

RRP Rule Could Be A Ticking Time Bomb For Many Contractors:

RRP Time bombThe New Renovation Repair and Painting Rule could likely be a ticking time bomb for many renovators who are ignorant of, intentionally ignoring and or not following all of the many requirements of the rule.   The reason I say this is because of the documentation and record keeping requirements of the RRP Rule.  Renovators should keep in mind that under the rule the required documentation for each RRP project must be stored and made available for inspection for up to 3 years after the completion of the project. The EPA and or states that have taken over administration and enforcement of the rule won’t be limited to finding active violations of the rule on jobsites.  They will also be able to use the required documentation to determine whether renovators were complying with the rule on all projects completed in the three years preceding an inspection.   Check out this list of six ways non-compliance and a lack of documentation could affect your business

RRP ComplianceI had a conversation with one remodeler about the serious risks non-compliance can have for a renovator’s business.  His opinion was that the risk of being caught was dependent on “how legal” the remodeler is in the way he/she operates the business.  My opinion is that being legal is not measured on any kind of graduated scale.   You are either operating the business legally or you are not.   I think both EPA and OSHA agree with this logic. 

In regards to RRP and OSHA compliance, either organization has the absolute ability to decide that you are in compliance or not.   If you are not in compliance you are guilty and subject to fines for all violations.   One saving grace, for those who are trying to be legal but may not be all the way there yet, is the fact that EPA has provided its enforcement officers with guidelines to determine fine amounts.  The Consolidated Enforcement Response and Penalty Policy (ERPP) sets forth guidance for EPA officials to use in determining the appropriate enforcement response and penalty amounts for violations resulting from failure or refusal to comply.  OSHA has similar guidelines for their field inspectors.

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.   They offer a complete assortment of multi-part carbon forms, signage and checklists to assist you and your employees with RRP compliance

Topics: EPA RRP Lead Rules, OSHA Considerations, Enforcement and Inspections, Legal Considerations, Documentation Considerations

OSHA to Target Residential Construction Industry, Enforce Lead Standards

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Dec 03, 2010 @ 04:17 PM

OSHA to Target Residential Construction Industry, Enforce Lead in Construction Standards

Lead in ConstructionOn December 2nd, 2010 I attended an OSHA Respirator and Worker Safety Programs Workshop put on by The Contractor Coaching Partnership and Safety Trainers.  The purpose of the workshop was to help contractors involved in RRP work with the OSHA requirements they needed to comply with when their employees or sub contractors are exposed to lead during construction activities.  Check this previous RRPedia article for more on OSHA requirements for RRP work and conflicts between OSHA regulations and the RRP rule.

Safety Trainers logoAt the workshop Joe Ceccarelli, a trainer with Safety Trainers, shared some information with the attendees regarding OSHA’s plans to step up inspections and increase fine amounts related to the residential construction Industry.  He told us that OSHA Region 1 has hire 250 new additional field inspectors and 40 of those have been assigned to Massachusetts alone.  I was quite taken back when Joe told us he had learned that 72% of OSHA violations levied against residential construction businesses were for what OSHA calls “serious or willful violations” and resulted in fines ranging from $3000 to $70,000.   

Joe told me he learned this information when he attended a session presented by Martha Kent, Region 1 area Director for OSHA, at the ASSE Region VIII New England Area Professional Development Conference and EXPO on November 30 – December 1, 2010 at the Sturbridge Host Hotel in Sturbridge, MA

In the video below Joe talks about what he learned at the conference and wanted to share with contractors.  Joe warns contractors; "They are coming, they are out there and they will be stopping by your jobsite"

 


Topics: Production Considerations, OSHA Considerations, Enforcement and Inspections, Legal Considerations, Videos