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:
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.
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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.
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
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:
Minimize the Dust You Create
Contain What You Can’t Prevent
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:
Proof that you educated the occupants, residents and owners with the Renovate Right Brochure
Your Test Kit Documentation for testing results or presuming the paint contains lead
Your Post-Job Report documenting your notification, work-practices and proper clean-up procedures.
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.
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.
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
EPA Estimated Certified Firms
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 nextLead Classes