The Clock Is Ticking … What If You Are Not Certified Yet?

by WOHe

As a remodeling contractor in Wisconsin, I have recently taken the Lead-Safe Renovator Class for Lead-Safe certification in my state. Wisconsin is one of ten states approved for state implementation of the RRP Rule, and has elected to impose even stricter measures than required by the EPA. It was the first state to administer and enforce the RRP Rule. So, for those of you who have completed certification, I understand the process.

For those of you who have not yet completed the training, the clock is ticking. If you elect to continue working on any facility built before 1978, you will need to get a company representative certified by December 31, 2010. Here is a link to classes still being held by the National Center for Healthy Housing. There are also training resources available through the EPA site.

Certification classes are offered after December 31, however if you are not certified and found in violation of the RRP Rule, the fines are hefty … up to $37,500 per violation per day.

As we have seen, more and more competitors are becoming certified and consumer awareness of lead danger is expanding. As of December 1, the EPA has trained an estimated 536,300 professionals in the construction and remodeling industries. If you are not certified, you will most likely run an increased risk of getting caught by whistle-blowing from certified competitors, concerned neighbors, and increasing enforcement from federal, state and local authorities.

On the “up” side of investing in Lead-Safe Certification, you are providing a healthier work environment that may protect yourself and your team from not only lead, but dust and other harmful by-products produced as a result of demolition/removal work. It also elevates you in the eyes of your customers with your concern for safety and following the law. Many will view your efforts as a way to keep them safe from liability.

In addition to the links above, I was able to find a list of instructors and classes available on my state’s website, the Department of Commerce, which is the governing body for contracting and building in Wisconsin. I was able to use this coursework towards state requirements for continuing education, but had to follow some procedures and time constraints to get that credit, so check into this before signing up if you would like to take advantage of that option.

The class itself was thorough, organized and informative. The attendees included contractors in the painting, renovating, commercial construction, siding and design-build fields. We were all surprised at the changes the RRP Rule will make in the way we do business and track paperwork.

Also included in the Wisconsin class is a background on the law, a discussion about the requirements for jobsite preparation, protection, and removal of lead-contaminated debris, as well as several hours of actual hands-on training before taking the final test for certification.

Cost for the class with certification amounted to about $450, and there are renewal requirements as well.

A tip–Be sure to include a member of your company for certification that will be on the jobsites during the removal process, as the work must be supervised and recorded by a certified team member. There are a lot of new documentation and recording procedures for compliance, another change in how your company will need to operate in the future.

So, get ready to gear up for changes in how your firm sets up jobs, and plan to use your new certification as a selling point.

Bookmark this website as we will assist you in keeping track of new products, procedures, and tools to help you stay in compliance in the most cost-effective way possible. Be sure to sign-up for our weekly newsletter to stay informed!

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