Posted by Tamela Adamson-McMullen
Enforcement of a rule affecting potentially hundreds of thousands of contractors has been delayed until October to make sure they have time to comply.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has pushed off enforcement of the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP), which went into effect April 22 of this year, until Oct. 1. The rule requires contractors to be trained and certified in lead-safe practices if they do work that might disturb painted surfaces in homes, child-care facilities and schools built before 1978.
The agency issued the RRP ruling in April 2008 to try to curb the problem of childhood lead poisoning. Despite nearly 30 years of effort, education and public awareness, lead poisoning is still a major problem in this country that affects a million children each year. Studies show that lead poisoning can lead to learning disabilities, behavioral problems and speech delays in children. It also can create health problems in adults.
Under the new rule, contractors are required to take eight hours of training, including two hours of hands-on training, from an EPA-credited provider. EPA has approved 254 training providers to date, including companies in related industries. As an example, a large window manufacturer and installer is providing training in multiple states.
The rule creates added costs for contractors, who must pay not only for the training but also for following required lead-safe work practices. On this latter score, the EPA estimates that the costs to contractors will range from $8 to $167 per job, with the exception of exterior jobs where vertical containment would be required.
Meanwhile, workers involved in the massive cleanup efforts after the spring flooding in western and central Tennessee are getting an additional reprieve.
Because of the emergency nature of the flood work, EPA has issued guidance specifically for the situation and agreed that until June 30, 2010, the emergency provisions of the RRP rule are in effect. As an example, EPA has announced that work performed on flood-damaged housing will not require notice or trained renovators to remove materials from homes, as required under the RRP ruling in normal conditions.
“Volunteer workers who do not receive compensation for work are not required to be certified but should educate themselves about lead-safe work practices, so as not to inadvertently cause hazards for themselves or other family members,” the EPA said in a statement.
For additional information on the RRP ruling, visit this site.