All Posts by Steve Hoff

Chip & Joanna Gaines to Pay $200,000 for EPA Lead Paint Violations

Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of the HGTV hit show, Fixer Upper, settled with the EPA for alleged Lead Paint Violations.

Their company, Magnolia Homes, agreed to settle with the EPA by paying a fine of $40,000 and performing $160,000 in lead-abatement projects in homes or child-occupied facilities with an outside independent abatement firm.

The EPA was asking for lead paint fines of $795,080 and accusing the company of 187 violations in 33 vacant home renovation projects completed prior to December 2015. Alleged violations included:

  • Lack of Firm Certification,
  • Failure to deliver the Renovate Right to the homeowner prior to beginning work,
  • Failure to assign a Certified Renovator to the job,
  • Failure to Contain the Work Area,
  • Failure to Contain Waste, and
  • Failure to Document Lead-Safe Work Practices

According to the EPA, “shortly after being contacted by the EPA three years ago, Magnolia Homes took immediate steps to bring its activities into compliance.”

Magnolia Homes also implemented a compliance program including a “renovation record-keeping checklist for use by their staff and subcontractors.”

Despite their efforts to cooperate with the EPA, fines were demanded.

How to Protect Yourself

Could your company withstand this type of scrutiny? Afford the legal bills? Ask yourself:

  • How is your documentation?
  • Are your workers trained?
  • Are your subcontractors Certified?
  • Is your Firm Certification current?
  • Do you have your records for the last 3 years?

You can access the pre-renovation notification, all of the paperwork to document your jobs and the links to register your company as a Certified Firm at https://www.leadclasses.com/forms-downloads/

This is your insurance and best of all, it’s 100% free.

If you need a class for any of your team you can find your closest class at www.LeadClasses.com

Post Hurricane Lead Paint Cleanup

How to deal with Lead Based Paint during Emergency Renovations and Repairs

  • Do you have a plan for dealing with emergency renovations that may disturb Lead Paint?
  • What about when the EPA sends teams of enforcement officers after there is a natural disaster?
  • Could you be subject to the $37,500 EPA RRP Lead Paint Fines just for helping out your neighbors?

The following brief video will give you the exact details of how to deal with the EPA’s RRP Lead Based Paint rules in a hurricane, natural disaster or any emergency renovations and repairs.

Emergency Lead-Based Paint Renovation Rules

The EPA defines an emergency as the following:

Any “situation necessitating immediate action to address safety, health hazards or threats of significant damage to equipment and/or property.”

As contractors, relief workers or anyone participating in the cleaning up it relieves us of the responsibility to:

  • Provide the Renovate Right Brochure prior to doing any work,
  • Place Signs
  • Use Containment

However, we must follow the clean-up protocol and cleaning verification and all of the recordkeeping requirements still apply.

What We Must Do to Minimize Our Risk

Click Here for copies of all of the Recordkeeping Paperwork you received in your class. Use them to document that your work was an emergency and the specific things that you were not able to do including;

  • Containment,
  • Having a Certified Renovator on the job site,
  • Posting signs,
  • Having a HEPA Vac on-site,
  • Containing the waste, etc.

Document exactly what steps you did do to protect the residents or occupants:

Make sure that you give the client copies of your Test Kit Form and Post Job Report no more than 30 days after completion or with the final invoice.

Finally, keep a copy of all of your documentation for a minimum of three years and you’ll be able to withstand any EPA enforcement actions today and for years to come.

 

BREAKING NEWS: EPA Issues Fine to Sears Home Improvement

On September 28th, Sears Home Improvement reached a settlement for $400,000 with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over failure to follow the EPA’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rules (RRP Rules) regarding lead-safe work practices in homes built before 1978.

From 2013 to 2015 the EPA identified over 96 renovations where Sears Home Improvement was unable to provide documentation of the Lead Safe Work Practices followed or provide proof that the contractors assigned to each job had successfully received RRP Lead Paint Certification as required by the EPA.

Protect yourself, your family, and your business by finding a class near you today.

Select Your Closest Class & Get Certified in Just 1 Day – 100% Guaranteed

 

Click here to read the full statement by the EPA.

EPA Extends RRP Certificates (or at least some of them)

On October 8, 2014 the EPA sent a memo to all Lead Paint Renovation, Repair & Painting trainers extending the 5 year certification for some Certified Renovators.

EPA Certified Renovator certification is good for 5 years from the date the course was completed, but…

If you were certified Before April 22, 2010, your Certificate is extended to July 1, 2015.

This means that if your Lead RRP Certificate expires prior to April 22, 2015 you can take the 4 hour Refresher Re-Certification Training Class any time before July 1, 2015 to renew your certification.

However, if your certificate expires after April 22, 2015 you must take the Refresher Class before the expiration date. If your certificate expires, then you must take the 8 hour Initial RRP Certification Class.

To further complicate things, the State of Oregon has refused to extend the certificates and still is requiring Certified Renovators to take the Refresher Training before their certificate expiration date.

EPA RRP Lead Paint Fines & Enforcement – Dec 2014

In December 2014 the EPA announced 61 enforcement actions for violations of the Lead Based Paint Renovation, Repair & Painting RRP Rules. All violations were involving pre-1978 homes and child occupied facilities. Fines were issued in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, Florida, Colorado, California, Idaho and Oregon. Fines ranged from as little as $100 to as much as $184,000. Violations included failure to

  • Educate the property owners and residents using the Renovate Right Brochure
  • Obtain Firm Certification from the EPA or the respective state in the 14 authorized states
  • Assign a Certified Renovator to the job
  • Retain all records for 3 years
  • Contain the work area
  • Contain the waste
  • Cover the floor or ground with impermeable plastic
  • Post warning signs
  • Train all non-certified workers
  • Use a HEPA exhaust on paint removing power tools
  • Perform a Post-Renovation Cleaning Verification
  • Clean properly
  • Produce records upon request
  • Have copies of both Certified Renovator and Certified Firm on the job site
  • Close and cover duct openings
  • Close all doors and windows

Notice that not only record keeping, but also job-site inspections have been performed to determine these violations.

How to make sure you aren’t fined

Never forget the #1 priority – Contain the Dust & Paint Chips.

Remember from your class the 3 Main Principles:

  1. Minimize the Dust You Create
  2. Contain What You Can’t Prevent
  3. Clean-up Everything

If you do these three things, you will do the job safely and ensure compliance with the work practices. But you must also make sure you have your records including:

  1. Proof that you educated the occupants, residents and owners with the Renovate Right Brochure
  2. Your Test Kit Documentation for testing results or presuming the paint contains lead
  3. Your Post-Job Report documenting your notification, work-practices and proper clean-up procedures.
  4. Proof that you have trained all non-certified workers

Clients must be given copies of the Test form and the Post-Job Report no more than 30 days after completion of the job or with your final invoice.

Remember, you can get copies of the paperwork off of our home page at: www.leadclasses.com/forms-downloads

Lastly, you must take the Refresher Training Class BEFORE your current Certificate expires. We are just beginning to put them on the schedule now. If you cannot find your closest city on our home page at www.LeadClasses.com please send us an email at Info@LeadClasses.com and we’ll do everything we can to help.

EPA Losing Millions on Lead RRP Rules

New Government Report Reveals EPA Losing Millions on Lead RRP Rules

According to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) the EPA has lost $25.3 million on the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Lead Based Paint program between fiscal year 2011-2014. Although collections exceeded costs by $8.9 Million in fiscal year 2010, there is still a total deficit of $16.4 Million.

The shortfall is primarily attributed to a dramatic over-estimation of Certified Firm Applications and payment of those fees ($300 for 5 years). The following chart shows EPA estimates versus actual companies obtaining the Certification

Year 1

Year 2

Total

EPA Estimated Certified Firms

212,000

72,000

284,000

Actual Certifications

87,000

13,000

100,000

Percentage Overestimated

59%

82%

65%

Source: OIG analysis of EPA data.

In order to cover the shortfall, the OIG is going to require the EPA to update the fee rules to cover all cost of operating and administering the RRP program. In addition, they will be required to conduct ongoing reviews to ensure costs are recouped.

What does this mean to contractors, maintenance firms and property management companies?

Clearly these rules are not going away. With an expansion into commercial and public buildings on the horizon, it’s difficult to imagine the EPA being able to successfully reduce expenses to meet the shortfall. More likely is an increase in fees and costs on all levels of the program.

This means that your marketing must set you apart from your competition. It must be driving a torrent of ready-to-buy, price-is-no-object customers to you who crave the quality and service that only you can deliver.

To learn how to attract the absolute best, highest paying clients who refer you and your company over and over again come to one of our next Lead Classes

EPA Issues Fines to Lead RRP Violators

EPA Takes Action Against 17 Violators of the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule

05/02/2013 WASHINGTON – Today, EPA announced 17 enforcement actions for violations of the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule (RRP).  The RRP rule protects homeowners and tenants from dangerous lead dust that can be left behind after common renovation, repair, and painting work. It requires that contractors and subcontractors be properly trained and certified, and use lead-safe work practices to ensure that lead dust is minimized. Lead exposure can cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities to seizures and death, putting young children at the greatest risk because their nervous systems are still developing. “Using lead-safe work practices is good business and it’s the law,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA is taking action to enforce lead rules to protect people from exposure to lead and to ensure a level playing field for contractors that follow the rules.”  The enforcement actions address serious violations of the RRP rule, including fourteen actions where the contractor failed to obtain certification prior to performing or offering to perform renovation activities on pre-1978 homes, where lead is more likely to be present. Other alleged violations included failure to follow the lead-safe work practices, which are critical to reducing exposure to lead-based paint hazards. The 17 enforcement actions listed below include 14 administrative settlements assessing civil penalties of up to $23,000. These settlements also required the contractors to certify that they had come into compliance with the requirements of the RRP rule. Additionally, EPA filed three administrative complaints seeking civil penalties of up to the statutory maximum of $37,500 per violation. As required by the Toxic Substances Control Act, a company or individual’s ability to pay a penalty is evaluated and penalties are adjusted accordingly. Enforcement actions:  · Groeller Painting, Inc. of St. Louis, Missouri.  · Albracht Permasiding and Window, Co. of Omaha, Nebraska. · Midwest College Painters, LLC of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  · ARK Property Investments, LLC of Richmond, Indiana. · Henderson & Associates Services of Largo, Florida. · Home Resources Management, LLC of Columbia, Tennessee.  · Camaj Interiors & Exteriors of Jacksonville, Florida.  · Cherokee Home Improvements, LLC of Church Creek, Maryland.  · Window World of Harford located in Belair, Maryland.  · EA Construction and General Contracting of West Chester, Pennsylvania. · Roman Builders of Morton, Pennsylvania.  · Accolade Construction Group, Inc. of New York, New York. · PZ Painting of Springfield, New Jersey.  · Creative Renovations of Brooklyn, New York. · Reeson Construction of Webster, New Hampshire. · New Hampshire Plate Glass Corporation of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. · CM Rogers Handyman of Manchester, New Hampshire.

CDC Lowers Childhood Lead Level Recommendation

For the first time in 20 years the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has updated the recommended Lead Level Limits in children. The revised standard is a 50% reduction to 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. The new standard is focused on the lead levels in the highest 2.5% of children according to Dr. Christopher Portier, Director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health.

Dr. Portier said that the approach is to focus on prevention rather than lead poisoning, rather than treatment after the fact. These levels will be revisited every four years as no lead level is considered safe in children and many of the consequences of early lead exposure are irreversible. The adverse effects include neurodevelopmental, cardiovascular, immunological, and endocrine effects.

The number one cause of lead poisoning in children under the age of six is remodeling, repair and painting of older homes. Lead was commonly used in paint prior to being banned by the EPA in 1978. All contractors, property management personnel, maintenance staff and anyone else who disturbs paint in any pre-1978 residential housing unit or child-occupied facility is required to be a Lead Certified Renovator. Fines for violators can be as much as $37,500 per violation / per day. Companies are also required to register as a Certified Firm with the EPA prior to performing any work that disturbs lead based paint.

For information on Lead Certified Renovator Training go to www.LeadClasses.com

EPA and OSHA to Share Lead Enforcement

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who created, oversees and enforces the Lead Based Paint RRP Rules and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are now working together to target contractors and other violators.

They are working together 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”.

This can be through information sharing, notification, training, consultation, legal support and coordination of enforcement efforts. They announced they will be focusing on enforcing

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

The most disturbing part of this news is their announcement that “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.”

This means that if you are not following the EPA RRP rules and OSHA’s worker protection rules you will find you are an easy mark for this coordinated enforcement effort. Make sure you are following both sets of rules. If you are not currently Certified or not following both sets of rules you can learn more about getting educated and find your nearest class at www.LeadClasses.com

 

 

LeadCheck Swabs Approved for Use on Drywall & Plaster

3M LeadCheck Swaabs have been given final approval by the Environmental Protection Agency for use on drywall and plaster.

The 3M LeadCheck Swabs, in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP), are now recognized by the EPA for use on drywall and plaster.

The swaps are designed to turn red in the presence of lead and were the first commercially available lead test kit recognized by the EPA for use on painted wood and metal.

“We are hearing from contractors that they are pleased to have an easy, low-cost option that’s now recognized for use on drywall and plaster,” said Wade Bowman, brand manager, 3M Construction and Home Improvement Markets. “In just 30 seconds, the 3M LeadCheck Swabs turn red if lead is present. Now contractors can choose to do their testing with one simple test kit.”

To achieve the latest EPA recognition for drywall and plaster, 3M LeadCheck Swabs underwent a testing process, results of which were reviewed and approved by the EPA and took into account factors such as ease of use, toxicity of chemicals used, average cost and average time of kit operation as well as overall performance.

Since April 22, 2010, all contractors, property management, maintenance personnel, and any other home service provider such as exterminators who disturb any painted surfaces in pre-1978 homes, schools and daycare facilities are required to be certified and follow lead-safe work practices. Fines for ignoring these rules can be as much as $37,500 per violation.

For a complete class schedule or to learn more about these rules go to www.LeadClasses.com