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Homeowner Questions Contractors Legal Status, EPA and OSHA Certs

Posted by Mark Paskell on Tue, Jan 25, 2011 @ 03:43 PM

Not too long ago we predicted that homeowners would soon look more carefully into a contractors legal status and EPA RRP certification. One thing we didn't anticipate was a homeowner inquiring about a contractors compliance with OSHA requirements.

Well there is a first time for everything, we got a call from a concerned homeowner.

In Massachusetts, the state is now authorized by the EPA to enforce and administer the RRP Lead Law. In doing so the State of Massachusetts added the OSHA Lead Standard to the law. This standard requires that contractors are compliant with the OSHA respiratory, medical monitoring and worker protection programs. This information is available on line and at the Mass website.

We were called by a homeowner who had a boat load of questions about hiring a legal contractor in Massachusetts. Her questions included the normal insurance, home improvement registration and permitting. Then she went on to ask about the RRP Lead Law. I asked her how she found us and she said she did a search for EPA RRP Lead in Massachusetts and she clicked on our link. I asked her how she knew about the RRP Law and she said she heard an add on the radio from the EPA. Then she went to the EPA website to read about it. There she learned about the State of Massachusetts becoming an authorized state. From there she went to the Mass website and read the Mass RRP Lead Law.

I said to her that most contractors do not bother reading the RRP Lead Law. What possessed you, a homeowner, to read it? She said I have kids and I want to make sure the contractor I hire is safe and legal. Also she shared that she was very concerned, after reading the Mass law, that the contractor she hires would not be subject to regulatory actions and work stoppages from Mass DOS or OSHA. She has a relative who had a job temporarily stopped because the contractor had faulty staging that lead to an injury.  That in turn lead to an OSHA work stoppage until the right staging was in place to continue.

She asked me what is needed to verify RRP Certification and the Medical Monitoring and Respiratory Requirements in the Mass RRP Lead Law!

I am flabbergasted that a homeowner would go to such lengths to determine the legal status of a contractor. Inquiring about Insurance and HIC registration number are normal, RRP and OSHA Certifications are not.

I later learned that this homeowner is a reseacher and she spends a lot of time checking things out at work. Are any of your prospects the researcher type?

We have received calls from homeowners regarding RRP before but this is a first from a homeowner who is concerned that her job could be shut down if she hires a contractor who is not compliant with RRP and OSHA.

Is this the beginning of a new trend where homeowners will ask for RRP Licensing and OSHA Certification in addition to the normal insurance and registration number?

What is going to happen when the OSHA Fall Protection Standard is enforced starting in June?

I think that as homeowners become more aware of what contractors are supposed to do some will be very diligent before they turn the keys to their home over to one.

mark the coach

one voice for the residential construction industry


Tags: lead standard, rrp, osha, mass