Fresh on the heels of the recent pool and spa safety act comes a new Federal rule aimed at reducing lead poisoning. The law targets all contractors working on homes (including common interest developments) built before 1978. Although originally passed in 2008, the major provisions of the rule were delayed until this year. As of July, the entire rule is in full effect.
The specific regulations require a new certification, substantial safety precautions, and impose huge fines for non-compliance. The new laws will increase both the cost of association repairs and the potential for liability to associations. The following is a partial excerpt from the EPA website:
Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint, which can be harmful to adults and children.
To protect against this risk, on April 22, 2008, EPA issued a rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices and other actions aimed at preventing lead poisoning. Under the rule, beginning April 22, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
EPA requires that firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes, child care facilities and schools be certified by EPA and that they use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers to follow lead-safe work practices. Individuals can become certified renovators by taking an eight-hour training course from an EPA-approved training provider.
Contractors must use lead-safe work practices and follow these three simple procedures:
- Contain the work area.
- Minimize dust.
- Clean up thoroughly.
Beginning in December 2008, the rule requires that contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint provide to owners and occupants of child care facilities and to parents and guardians of children under age six that attend child care facilities built prior to 1978 the lead hazard information pamphlet Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools (PDF).
The rule affects paid renovators who work in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities, including:
- Renovation contractors
- Painters and other specialty trades.
Under the rule, child-occupied facilities are defined as residential, public or commercial buildings where children under age six are present on a regular basis. The requirements apply to renovation, repair or painting activities. The rule does not apply to minor maintenance or repair activities where less than six square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed in a room or where less then 20 square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed on the exterior. Window replacement is not minor maintenance or repair.
Review the EPA’s Small Entity Compliance Guide to Renovate Right (pdf, 5.4mb) for a clear (if lengthy) breakdown of all the new requirements.