While at the Mass DOS/OSHA Workshop at UMass we were told about the enforcement efforts currently underway in Mass. DOS is going out into the field and catching contractors not following the RRP Lead Rule. OSHA inpsectors are instructed to stop by any job they see with violations.
The representatives from the DOS said they are starting the enforcement but they really don't want to put these little guys out of business with one big fine. Instead they are doing outreach, shutting down jobs and ordering contractors to get RRP trained. I appreciate their efforts to date and they are probably doing the best they can with limited resources and figuring out the best way to enforce the new Mass RRP Lead Law. OSHA on the other hand is just starting to catch up with RRP Rules. It was obvious at the workshop that the OSHA representatives were just getting familiar with RRP. (See Shawn McCadden's post)
I was waiting for the right opportunity to ask the big question about enforcement of illegal contractors. Sure all this enforcement talk sounds good but when is it going to make a difference? When are we going to see the results in the news about some non-compliant contractor who said the heck with following the RRP lead law or OSHA rules?
Contractors want to know when will enforcement create a level playing field
Everyday I am asked by coaching clients and contractors, we have RRP trained, who are putting up the dough to become RRP compliant; when are they (EPA, DOS) going to shut down the illegal contractors?
The Contractor Coaching Partnership is passionate about helping contractors and the residential construction industry by persistently broaching this important topic with the EPA, DOS, OSHA and building officials. Our trade organizations are trying to help, but have not done enough to achieve the desired results.
At the workshop, they asked me to be patient, let them do the outreach and warnings and the enforcement will come soon. I have stated the question below to every EPA, DOS and building official I have met this year. I will continue to bring it up at every opportunity because it is wrong for legal compliant contractors to have to pay the freight when thousands of illegal contractors flourish.
So the opportunity came and here is the question I asked; "hundreds of contractors ask me when are they (EPA) going to do something about the underground contracting community. These compliant contractors would like to see enforcement of the following groups;
1. Joe contractor who doesn't follow the rules
2. The local fireman, teacher or munincipal worker (who chooses to moonlight underground)
3. Illegal aliens and the contractors who use them
4. Laid off union workers."
The question drew a pause and I was asked if it could be brought up it in a later segment of the session. Later in the session Mr. Kelley from the DOS said those who think they can get away without complying will soon see differently. This increase in enforcement cannot come soon enough to those who have made the investment to be compliant.