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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. 

Please read RRPedia Use and Contribution Information before using or contributing to RRPedia.


You Can Browse For RRP Topics By Using The Tags List To The Right

Using LeadCheck To Test Drywall And Plaster Surfaces Is Easy!

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

Using LeadCheck To Test Paint On Drywall (Gypsum) And Plaster Surfaces Is Easy!

LeadCheck on drywall and plasterEPA has recently updated recognition of the 3M™ LeadCheck™ for use on drywall and plaster.  Below are the specific instructions from the manufacturer, 3M, for conducting testing of drywall and plaster for lead.   These instructions must be followed by the certified renovator for the test results to be recognized under the RRP rule by EPA.  I think the key point to remember when doing such testing is that you are testing the paint, not the drywall:


Sanding drywall


Instructions for using LeadCheck to test drywall and plaster:

Sulfates present in drywall (gypsum) and plaster dust can interfere with 3M™ LeadCheck™ Swabs color development. It is possible with a minimum amount of care to accurately test for lead paint on plaster surfaces with 3M™ LeadCheck™ Swabs.

Testing drywall and plaster with LeadChecka) With a clean utility knife, make a nickel sized half circle cut at a low angle (about 5 degrees) cutting down to the bare drywall (gypsum) and plaster core to expose all layers of paint. Make the cut as seen in figure A.

b) Fold down the semicircular flap with the knife blade so that it forms a pocket.

c) Using an activated 3M™ LeadCheck™ Swab, hold the swab above the cut allowing the 3M™ LeadCheck™ reagent to flow into the pocket making sure that the liquid contacts all layers of paint both in the cut itself and the peeled back flap. Carefully rub the swab around the periphery of the peeled back flap, taking care not to contact the drywall (gypsum) or plaster. Only rub the swab on all layers of paint found on the flap. Do not rub the swab in the pocket.

d) If lead is present, a pink or red color will develop along the edges of the cut, flap, or swab tip usually within 30 seconds.

e) If no pink or red color develops, immediately confirm the negative result by squeezing a drop of the 3M™ LeadCheck™ reagent onto one of the confirmation card dots. It should turn red immediately.


Topics: EPA RRP Rule Updates, Worker Training, Lead Test Kits and Testing

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

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

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

Videos About The EPA RRP Rule

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Oct 15, 2010 @ 08:00 AM

New Shawn McCadden Videos About The EPA RRP Rule; RRP Information For Renovators

RRP Instructor Shawn McCaddenI recently completed a series of seven videos about the new EPA RRP rule. The RRP videos were done for Remodeling magazine. They are posted to the Remodeling TV area of Remodeling magazine’s web site.

The videos are sponsored by The Home Depot. The video series is titled “The Insider's Guide to the EPA's Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule”. The series covers critical information about the Environmental Protection Agency's RRP rule and certification process, and explains how the rule may affect your business.

I had a lot of fun doing the videos. Lots of great people donated their time, knowledge and expertise. I also learned a lot from Chuck Green of Perpetual Motion Pictureswriting the script, interviewing contributors, editing the script with the magazine’s editor Sal Alfano, reviewing the raw footage, and working with the videographer, Chuck Greeen of Perpetual Motion Pictures. Working with Chuck was a unique advantage. As a fellow remodeler and Certified Renovator, Chuck not only filmed and edited the videos, he also contributed greatly to the content and success of the whole project.

Here is a list of the videos, a brief description of what is discussed in each as well as links to view them:

Video One: The EPA RRP Rule and Your Business

This video covers the business responsibilities, associated liabilities and risks related to the RRP Rule. Kermit Baker, Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies stresses that remodelers need to become experts in this area or leave the work to others who are. Attorney Mike Sams of Kenney & Sams, P.C. warns about the legal liabilities for failure to follow the regulations. Shawn McCadden discusses the firm and worker certification process, related fees as well as certified renovator and firm responsibilities.


Video Two: RRP Training

This video covers the worker training requirements of the rule and the content of the EPA Certified Renovator training class. Shawn McCadden also discusses the importance and benefits of choosing a training class conducted by a training instructor with real life renovation experience.


Video Three: EPA RRP Notification Requirements

The EPA RRP rule specifies certain notification requirements depending on where the work is done and who occupies and or visits the building being renovated. This video covers these requirements, related firm documentation requirements as well as the information and documentation that must be given to property owners and others. Shawn McCadden also discusses many of the important details that must be included in the required documentation.


Video Four: RRP Work Practices

This video includes a summary of the required lead-safe work practices required under the RRP Rule. Shawn McCadden walks through critical considerations related to the rule that must be followed to stay in compliance with the rule, protect occupants and workers and to control costs. Shawn also discusses interior and exterior cleaning and cleaning verification requirements.


Video Five: RRP Record Keeping

Inspection of the required documentation under the rule will be a major enforcement tool used by EPA. In this video Shawn McCadden discusses the required documentation related to worksite activities as well as many business administration activities. Mark Paskell of the Contractor Coaching Partnership shares a few of the many methods EPA will have at their disposal to inspect and verify a firm’s compliance with the rule. Shawn adds several more methods to Mark’s list and also discusses the penalties and fines EPA can assess on violators.


Video Six: Exemptions to RRP Work Practices

In this video Shawn McCadden gives examples of when, where and why the RRP rule and work practices are not required under the rule. Shawn stresses that even if the work practices are not required under the RRP rule, your business will still be liable if lead poisoning and or contamination results from the way work is performed. Shawn and contractor insurance expert Tom Messier of Mason and Mason Insurance both stress the importance of verifying proper and adequate insurance coverage to protect your business, available coverage options as well as related costs for coverage.


Video Seven: Business Considerations and Summary

Shawn Mccadden stresses that this new rule is a game changer. Shawn tells us businesses must take this new rule seriously and adjust their business practices accordingly to protect profits and control liabilities. Mark Paskell of the Contractor Coaching Partnership stresses that contractors should verify that the documentation forms they use will comply with the rule and also assist the business in managing and performing the work. Gerry McGonagle of Belfor Property Restoration offers his advice on qualifying the right employees to do the work. Shawn also discusses some of the new responsibilities the rule brings with it for employees in all positions within the business.

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: Videos, EPA RRP Lead Rules, Worker Training, Legal Considerations, Business Considerations, Insurance Considerations, Certified Renovator Training, Documentation Considerations, EPA RRP for Dummies, Work Practices, Work Practice Exclusions, Firm Certification, Enforcement and Inspections


Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Oct 05, 2010 @ 08:00 AM


Scraping lead paintAs like many of you, I have definitely exposed my body to lead over the last 30 plus years I have been involved in remodeling.   As I learn more about lead poisoning and the symptoms of lead poisoning, I flash back to my younger years working for my dad’s remodeling business.   Back then there was little awareness or thought given to the way we worked when disturbing lead paint.   One summer I remember complaining of stomach aches, muscle pains and constantly feeling tired even after having the weekend off.   My parents took me to the doctor but the doctor couldn’t find any reason for these symptoms.  He gave me a terrible tasting medication to take daily and asked me to report back on how I was doing.   The symptoms would seem to come and go all summer long, but then went away when I went back to college after the summer was over.  This same scenario played over again the following summer.

Later I found out from my parents that the doctor had told them my symptoms were psychosomatic.   He made this decision because the medication he gave me was only a placebo but I was reporting improved health.  Looking back what was actually happening was that I was moving in and out of exposure to lead as I was moved from one project to the next.  If I gutted a kitchen and remodeled it I would get sick and the symptoms would appear.  After completing that project I might move to an addition or attic renovation project where I would have little or no exposure to lead.  My symptoms would come and go as I moved from project to project and as my body had time to adjust.

NARI LogoFortunately for me, in the early days of owning my remodeling business, I learned a lot about lead and lead safe work practices through the NARI/HUD Lead Safe Remodeler training program that came out in the mid 1990’s.  The current Certified Renovator training is only one day and really only teaches attendees how to contain the dust and debris.  Different than the current class, the NARI/HUD class was two days long and actually thought us lead-safe work practices that eliminated or significantly reduced the creation of lead dust and debris.  Attending that class was definitely worth the investment of time and money.  Both I and my employees changed the way we thought about the work we did and the methods we used going forward.

Lead poisoning is a serious concern, often confused with other illnesses:

(Note: The following information comes from the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety, Publication: # 17379-13-200-7/93)

Workers can be exposed to lead by breathing in lead dust or fumes from work activities, by eating, drinking or smoking in work areas, or by handling contaminated objects - and accidentally swallowing lead dust. Workers in many workplaces have so much lead in their bodies that they are slowly being poisoned. The symptoms may hardly be noticeable at first. But over time, lead can damage the brain, blood, nerves, kidneys and reproductive organs. This damage can cause serious disability: memory loss, extreme tiredness, emotional problems, even kidney failure, coma or death.

Lead Blood TestLead poisoning can occur when people are exposed to large or small amounts of lead over time. Lead builds up in the body and may cause temporary or permanent damage. A blood lead test can show whether your body has absorbed a dangerous amount of lead. A high blood lead level is an indication that lead is building up in the body faster than it can be eliminated.


There are many symptoms or signs that suggest a problem with lead, but they can also be symptoms of other illnesses. It is also possible to have lead poisoning without noticing any symptoms. If you work around lead you should regularly see your doctor, whether or not you are experiencing the following symptoms:

Early Signs and Symptoms of Lead Poisoning:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sleeplessness
  • Uneasy stomach
  • Irritability or nervousness
  • Poor appetite
  • Metallic taste
  • Reproductive problems 

Wrist dropLater Signs and Symptoms:

  • Aches or pains in stomach
  • Memory problems
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Weak wrists or ankles
  • Kidney problems

Note:  The Photo above shows wrist-drop in adult with lead poisoning and renal failure.

What to do if you have been poisoned by lead



Topics: Worker Training, Definitions, Health Effects of Lead, EPA RRP for Dummies, Work Practices, Personal Protection

OSHA Left Out Of RRP Rule Development; Just Getting Up To Speed

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Sep 26, 2010 @ 01:42 PM

OSHA Left Out Of RRP Rule Development, Just Getting Up To Speed. 

MA SealOn Friday Mark Paskell and I attended a half day LEAD Hazard Awareness workshop sponsored by the MA Division of Occupational Safety and OSHA.  (Download the Power Point Presentations)  Mark and I agreed we learned quite a bit of new information related to OSHA requirements that apply to RRP related work at the workshop.  We have been working on developing training programs and workshops to help renovators become aware of and address OSHA rules.  Attending the workshop will definitely help us enhance our future offerings.

At the workshop it became obvious that OSHA and EPA didn’t collaborate on the RRP rule or the content of the required certified renovator training curriculum.  It also became obvious at the workshop on Friday that the OSHA reps in attendance were only just recently getting up to speed on the new RRP rule. When answering several attendee questions about OSHA requirements related to RRP work, I could tell the OSHA employees in the room lacked a true understanding of the required RRP work practices.  Although the RRP rule went into effect on April 22, 2010 these employees said they had only recently attended any training related to the rule.

RRP Instructor ManualIf RRP instructors follow the EPA created instructor training manual when training renovators, they will be teaching students to do things that violate OSHA rules.  (Read more here) Will it be an adequate defense if fined by OSHA to defend what you did by referring to the content of the training manual?   It appears that the EPA attempted to cover its lack of clarity and understanding of OSHA rules in the training manual by adding this disclaimer where the manual covers the training of non-certified workers by certified renovators; “Note: OSHA rules may require employers to take further steps to protect the health of workers on the job” 


It’s always easy to find fault, but what we need is solutions.  So here are only but a few of my suggestions to EPA and OSHA:

  • Rather than use fines and penalties to promote awareness and compliance, use education to help employers and employees identify and understand the health and safety risks of their professions and what laws and regulations they must comply with.  Knowing the why often makes the how easier to embrace.
  • Rather than promote compliance with just mandatory reporting, paperwork and or fines, offer and require attendance at strategic training classes that not only explain what is required, but also why.  The classes could also include training on how to fill out the required reporting forms correctly.  Doing so would serve to help complying businesses who do the right things for their workers and customers, only to then get fined due to paperwork errors.
  • Allow OSHA and EPA to keep the money collect in fines provided that use of this money is clearly targeted towards developing and supporting education that results in a better educated workforce, improved awareness of related health risks and reducing worker injuries and or illnesses. 
  • Perhaps our industry could establish standard designations for workers who satisfactorily complete a predetermined curriculum of classes relevant to specific job duties and work environments.  This would increase the value employees bring to employers and give employers a simple and standard way to assess the knowledge and or experience of job candidates.
  • Fall protection kitCurrent OSHA and RRP related rules and training seems to concentrate on what not to do, without enough time and attention on the right way to do things.   With OSHA for example, fall protection rules require a business to put fall protection equipment in place and train workers when and how to use.  Great, but why not also complement it with training on methods for working safely and how to avoid putting yourself in a position to fall?    
  • Utility knife on baseboardFor RRP, the required training teaches how to contain dust and debris so it won’t spread outside the contained work area. Might renovators who follow these instructions only be increasing the health risks to workers by containing and concentrating the dust and debris in the confined work area? Wouldn’t it make sense to also train workers on lead-safe work practices that actually limit or prevent the creation of dust to begin with?  


If you have suggestions to add to this list please share them here.  If some day we have the opportunity to revise these rules and or the strategies used by our government to administer them, we will already have a collection of solutions to consider and offer.



Topics: Worker Training, OSHA Considerations, Health Effects of Lead, MA RRP Updates, OSHA - EPA Challenges, Enforcement and Inspections

EPA Gives Status of RRP Training and Certification Counts

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Aug 05, 2010 @ 09:40 AM

EPA Gives Status of RRP Training and Certification Counts at June LEHA Workshop

Lead Paint CansThe Lead and Environmental Hazard Association (LEHA) has been conducting a series of workshops across the country.   I attended the June 22, 2010 workshop held in Marlboro MA.  The workshops bring together representatives from federal, state and local agencies to discuss the RRP rule with interested parties including renovation contractors, lead inspectors and others in the industry providing services and or products related to the RRP.  The workshop was well attended and very informative.   The state of Massachusetts' Department of Occupational Safety (DOS) has taken delegated authority and enforcement of the rule from EPA.  Several representatives from DOS and the state were in attendance and participated in the workshop as panelists.

David Merrick, NARI Government Affairs Committee Chairman, and several others from NARI attended one of the workshops on Friday, July 23 in Baltimore.   Also present at that workshop was the region 3 EPA Regional Lead Enforcement Coordinator, Annie Skidmore.

At the meeting EPA's Annie Skidmore brought everyone up-to-date with the latest numbers (as of the June 22nd workshop) from the EPA regarding the RRP.  Thanks to David Merrick for sharing this information with me:

  • 411,000 people have completed RRP Certified Renovator training.

  • 40,000 firms have completed firm certification with 10-20,000 applications in the pipeline.

  • EPA acknowledged that their initial estimate of the number of firms that will need to be certified and the number of workers that will need to be trained was way off the mark.  The EPA now says the 40,000 firms that are certified represent about 20% of the firms that will need to be certified.

  • There are a total of 282 Certified Training Providers, many of which travel and train nationally.

  • A total of 17,800 training courses have been held.

Topics: EPA RRP Rule Updates, Worker Training, Certified Renovator Training, Firm Certification

EPA RRP Renovators May Be Blind-Sided by OSHA Requirements

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Aug 03, 2010 @ 12:39 PM

Frustrated Contractor

Renovators Intending to Comply With EPA RRP Rule May Be Blind-Sided by OSHA Requirements

The following article, written by Dick Hughes of Excellence In Safety, was forwarded to me last week by a colleague.   Dick credits his sources at the end of the article.  I also verified the accuracy of the information through one of my contacts at the Massachusetts DOS. 



The article lists a variety of OSHA considerations that may likely blind-side well intentioned renovators as they attempt to comply with the new EPA RRP Rule.   The RRP Rule and OSHA requirements are in conflict with each other in many ways.  One EPA contact shared with me that EPA and OSHA did not collaborate on the rule while it was being written.   This one consideration alone should raise serious doubt and concern for business owners about business liabilities and potential fines. 

OSHA and RRP ConfusionIf an EPA enforcement employee and and OSHA Field inspector show up at one of your jobsites, at the same time, there is no way you will be able to satisfy both.  I suggest this is another example of shortsighted leadership within both organizations.  It also points out the lack of knowledge and awareness our political leaders in Congress have as it relates to understanding the construction industry and overseeing the creation of regulations that affect businesses of all sizes.

The Article:
Big Compliance Problems Ahead for Worker Safety

On April 22, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented a rule that requires contractors that are hired to perform renovation, repair and painting (RRP) projects in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 that disturb lead-based paint to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. This rule is expected to impact hundreds of thousands of employers and millions of employees.

EPA is already proposing an expansion of this rule into pre-1978 commercial facilities. That change will significantly expand the scope of employers and building owners covered by this new regulation. Failure to comply with this new regulation can result in fines as high as $65,000 per violation, including a potential prison term. The EPA will enforce violations of the new regulation starting on Oct. 1, 2010.

The new EPA rule includes the following requirements:

• The new EPA regulations require “firms” that disturb more than 6 square feet of paint per room (or more that 20 square feet on the exterior) in these pre-1978 buildings to become certified with the EPA and employ certified renovators who would train workers and oversee these projects.

• Firms include contractors who are hired to perform renovation, repair and painting work where paint is disturbed in the targeted housing.

• Building owners whose maintenance staff also disturb painted surfaces in targeted housing must also be certified and use certified renovators.

• Certified firms must send a supervisor or “renovator” to an 8-hour class where they become certified to oversee work covered by the RRP rule.

Here’s the rub: The 8-hour class only covers the EPA requirements and completely ignores OSHA worker protection rules. Therefore, safety professionals might find that “Certified Firms” are violating OSHA lead regulations because they were not taught about OSHA requirements for worker protection. This is going to be a huge issue for employers whose employees are exposed to lead hazards during work covered by the new EPA RRP rule.

EPA Rule Doesn’t Fulfill OSHA Requirements
Employers and building owners should be alert to the fact that OSHA rules differ significantly from the EPA RRP regulations. OSHA lead regulations apply to any work where employees come into contact with any level of lead or lead bearing coatings. They should also note the following worker protection and/or OSHA omissions in the new EPA lead-based paint rule:

• Lead-based paint. The EPA RRP rule defines lead-based paint as containing more than 0.5 percent lead by weight. Lead coatings below this threshold are exempt from any special EPA certification, training or work practices. However, OSHA regulates lead in any amount. Therefore, many employers will believe that lead-coated surfaces below the EPA standards of 0.5 percent by weight are not regulated when in fact they may still be regulated by OSHA.

• Regulated areas.OSHA mandates under 1926.62 that employers establish “regulated areas” when lead or lead-coated surfaces are disturbed. A regulated area requires specific OSHA signage. The EPA signs required by their new RRP rule do not meet OSHA requirements for a regulated area.

• Written compliance program. OSHA regulations require a detailed compliance program listing specific requirements for employers to document. The EPA RRP rule does not have any requirements or discussion of a written compliance plan.

• Mandatory respirator use. OSHA lead regulations require monitoring for employees exposed to lead dust or fumes during work. OSHA has established three work class tasks for which certain exposures above the permissible exposure limit (PEL) must be assumed when employers fail to perform exposure monitoring. All of the work practices covered by the EPA RRP rule require employee respiratory protection under OSHA. However, the EPA required training only discusses respirator use as optional. The EPA training does not discuss OSHA regulations for a written respirator program, medical clearance, respirator training and fit testing for employees who are required to wear respirators.

• Protective clothing. OSHA lead regulations require protective clothing when work tasks disturb lead coatings (without a negative exposure assessment). OSHA requires either disposable clothing or employer laundering. The EPA RRP rule lists disposable clothing as optional and trains workers to use HEPA vacuums to clean clothing before going home. OSHA also requires employers to notify other employees or employers who would launder the contaminated clothing. The EPA RRP rules do not provide any awareness for employees who launder their own contaminated work clothing.

• Annual training. OSHA regulations require annual training when airborne levels of lead dust or fumes exceed their action level. EPA’s new RRP rule only requires training every 5 years.

• Hygiene facilities. OSHA regulations require a separate area to change from work clothing to street clothing as well as providing for hand/face washing facilities. The EPA does not address change facilities and suggests that workers wash their hands and face prior to leaving the work place.

• Medical surveillance and biological monitoring. OSHA mandates biological monitoring for employees exposed above the action level for airborne lead dust and fumes. The EPA RRP rule briefly mentions that the only way to detect lead in your blood is with a blood test and does not inform the workers of the OSHA requirement for biological monitoring.

The new EPA RRP lead-based paint rule is an important regulation for reducing the unacceptable levels of elevated lead in children’s blood in certain areas of the country. However, this huge piece of legislation has done a disservice to the millions of workers who will be impacted by lead during common renovation, repair, and painting activities in residential and child occupied facilities by ignoring mandatory worker protection requirements mandated by OSHA. Contractors and building owners must take extra steps to ensure that their workers or employees of contractors disturbing lead bearing substances in their facilities are thoroughly trained and protected in all applicable regulations; specifically OSHA worker protection rules for lead.

Thanks to:

Jeffery C. Camplin, MS, CSP is president of Camplin Environmental Services Inc., a safety and environmental consulting firm based in Rosemont, Ill. He is a licensed lead risk assessor and accredited EPA lead-based paint instructor for abatement courses and the new RRP rule training.

Useful links related to this article:
• July 21 Virtual Audioconference: EPA’s New Lead Paint Regulations Will Get You in Trouble with OSHA http://www.workplacetrainingcenter.com/Prod-2067.aspx

• EPA information on the new RRP rule for lead-based paint can be found at http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/toolkits.htm

• HUD information on lead safe work practices for renovation work can be found at http://www.hud.gov/offices/lead/training/rrp/rrp.cfm

• OSHA information on worker protection for employees exposed to lead-bearing substances can be found at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/lead/construction.html

About the author:
Dick Hughes
Excellence In Safety
24 Spring Bars Road Falmouth, MA 02540
Web: www.excel-in-safety.com
cell: 1-617-653-4950

This article was originally published at Work Place Magazine

Topics: EPA RRP Lead Rules, Worker Training, Production Considerations, OSHA Considerations, Legal Considerations, Compliance Options, Work Practices, Personal Protection, OSHA - EPA Challenges, Enforcement and Inspections

EPA DELAYS Enforcement of RRP Rule Certifications until October

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Mon, Jun 21, 2010 @ 09:37 AM

On Friday June 18, 2010 the EPA announced a delay in the enforcement of the firm and worker certification requirements under the EPA RRP rule.

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The agency acknowledged the need for additional time for renovation firms and workers to become trained and certified under the new Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.

The rule took effect April 22, but in the June 18th memo from EPA Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles, EPA announced it is delaying enforcement, acknowledging concerns raised by many trade association including NARI.


The announcement left a few open questions, both sent to me by Andy Ault of Little River Carpentery:

(1) How do you know how to perform the practices if you haven't been trained?

(2) What about the record keeping and reporting requirements?  Do you have to do those too even if you haven't been trained?




It is with mixed feelings that I post this announcement.  EPA's lack of an effective strategy to get an adequate number of firms and workers certified does make it difficult or even impossible in some areas for consumers to hire only certified firms and workers.  On the other hand, those renovators who did get certified on time under the rule are essentually losing what should have been an advantage to them and their businesses.  Remember when a rule used to be a rule and only those who didn't follow the rules got punished?  


Some Details about the announcement: 

Until Oct. 1, 2010, the EPA will not take enforcement action for violations of the RRP Rule's firm certification requirement.

For violations of the RRP Rule's renovation worker certification requirement, the EPA will not enforce against individual renovation workers if the person has applied to enroll in, or has enrolled in, by no later than Sept. 30, 2010, a certified renovator class to train contractors in practices necessary for compliance with the final rules. Renovators must complete the training by Dec. 31, 2010.

Contained area


In the announcement the EPA makes it clear that it will still be enforcing the required lead-safe work practices.

The official announcement by the EPA can be downloaded here.

Topics: EPA RRP Rule Updates, Worker Training, Work Practices, Firm Certification, Enforcement and Inspections