Deadline Approaches for Lead-Safe Work Practices, Training, and Certification
The deadline is approaching for site and maintenance staff of pre-1978 housing to be trained and certified in lead-safe work practices. After April 22, 2010, sites that conduct repair work that disturbs paint in housing built before 1978 must ensure that the work is performed by certified renovation firms, use renovators with accredited training, and follow the work practice requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program Rule.
Seemingly simple building maintenance repairs, like sanding a surface or creating an opening in a wall or ceiling to fix electrical wiring, can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint. Renovation or repair work that is subject to compliance includes “work that disturbs greater than six square feet of painted surfaces per room in the interior of a building, or 20 square feet on the exterior,” says Michelle Price, Chief of the Lead, Heavy Metals, and Inorganics Branch in the EPA's National Program Chemicals Division (NPCD). “That includes electrical work, plumbing, painting, carpentry, or window replacement.”
Exclusions to the rule include housing built in 1978 or later, housing for elderly or disabled persons (unless children under age 6 reside or are expected to reside there), zero-bedroom dwellings (such as studio apartments or dormitories), and housing that has been declared lead-free by a certified inspector or risk assessor.
Lead-Safe Practices Training and Certification
According to the EPA, after the April deadline, contractors, maintenance staff, and other site staff who conduct lead-based paint repairs and renovations must be certified, which requires successfully completing an eight-hour training course offered by an accredited training provider (training providers are accredited by the EPA, or by an authorized state or tribal program). The course completion certificate serves as proof of certification.
To maintain their certification, firms must be recertified by the EPA every five years by completing a refresher training course provided by an accredited training provider.
Not every member of your maintenance staff would need to be certified, Price says, as long you have a certified renovator overseeing key phases of the work. Also, the certified renovator must provide on-the-job training to other maintenance staff on the work practices they will be using in performing their assigned tasks.
Lead-safe work practices in effect after April 22 include:
Work-area containment to prevent dust and debris from leaving the work area;
Prohibition of certain work practices like open-flame burning and the use of power tools without HEPA exhaust control; and
Thorough cleanup followed by a verification procedure to minimize exposure to lead-based paint hazards.
Editor's Note: To become certified, site owners must submit an application for firm certification and fee payment to the EPA. The application can be downloaded at http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/firmapp.pdf.
Resident Education Requirements
In addition to staff training and certification, the Lead Program Rule requires site managers to adhere to the pre-renovation education requirements initially established by the EPA in April 2008. Before beginning renovations and repair work in pre-1978 residential buildings and units, site managers must provide residents with a copy of the EPA's lead hazard information pamphlet, Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools (which can be downloaded at http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovaterightbrochure.pdf).
It's important to document your compliance with this requirement by having residents confirm receipt of the pamphlet, says Price. You can use the EPA's sample pre-renovation disclosure form (available on the EPA Web site: http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/pre-renovationform.pdf), or you can mail the pamphlet to residents at least seven days prior to the renovation, and document that with a certificate of mailing. The records must be retained for three years.
If the renovation or repair work takes place in a common area, you must notify residents by making the pamphlet available and/or posting signs describing the renovation, Price says. And be sure to maintain written documents describing the notification procedure.
Stiff Penalties for Noncompliance
After April 22, 2010, properties that fail to comply with the lead-safe work requirements of the Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program Rule, may face stiff penalties of up to $37,500 per violation per day, says Price. She points out that, although previous EPA publications established fines of up to $32,500, the penalty has recently increased due to inflation.
For those housing sites at which the EPA's program rules will apply, Price recommends maintaining records for at least three years that demonstrate that your staff has been trained in lead-safe work practices and that you followed lead-safe work practices on the job. The EPA has developed a sample record-keeping checklist to help you comply with the renovation recordkeeping requirements that will take effect in April 2010 (you can download it at http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/samplechecklist.pdf).
Editor's Note: The EPA has developed a handbook that summarizes the compliance requirements of its Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program, which is available at http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/sbcomplianceguide.pdf.
Michelle Price: Chief, Lead, Heavy Metals, and Inorganics Branch, National Program Chemicals Division (NPCD), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); http://www.epa.gov.