In our OSHA Fall Protection class yesterday a contractor told us there is contractor on the rampage in Longmeadow, Mass.
This Longmeadow contractor is upset that he is RRP certified, following the practices and all over town there are contractors not using RRP practices. He paid for the training, equipment, and certification and is educating the consumer only to have it fall on deaf ears. Rather than continue to wait for enforcement to come to his town he is calling the State of Mass Lead regulators, The DOLS and reporting what he has found. The word is he is purposely going out looking for contractors not following RRP practices. The DOLS is obligated to look into the complaints. (The contractor in our class warned others to watch out if working around Longmeadow)
As the recession deepens in various parts of the country I predict that more contractors who choose to follow the rules will start aggressively dropping dimes on those who are not following the EPA RRP program. Some think that contractors who drop dimes are rats. Are they? Or is it reasonable if you are losing work to the underground contracting community and homeowners are hiring them for you to make the call? Why doesn't the building inspector roam the streets and enforce state laws? Questions like this are on the minds of legally operating companies all over the country. Meanwhile more and more work goes to contractors who do not carry the cost burdens of regulatory compliance (EPA and OSHA), taxes, insurance and proper classification of employees. There are many homeowners willing to take a chance on these non-compliant contractors. (Who are they; average Joe contractor who is not certified or completely legal, the undocumented, off duty state and town municipal workers and laid off workers who are collecting and working on the side for cash)
Compliant contractors want to do the right thing however they have mortgages to pay, employees to keep working and the costs associated with running a legit business. They are sick and tired of homeowners being allowed to hire the underground contractor. What they really want is a level playing field that includes shutting down the illegal contractors. Unfortunately it is coming down to survival for many contractors. The former attitude that "I would never drop a dime on illegal contractors" is rapidly changing.
I have met with many Mass State officials and the EPA and they have all suggested that they encourage and rely on tips and complaints to catch violators. For example in Beverly, Mass a few weeks ago one contractor called on another and the state was on the site the next day. The caught contractor quickly told his paint store and other contractors. The word spread like wild fire and the paint store was warning everyone who came in to watch out for the RRP Inspectors.....
Contractors on a rampage may soon appear in a community near you. They do not want to see work in their community go to the underground. For some contractors it is coming down to basic survival of paying the bills, feeding the kids, keeping the guys working and paying the mortgage.
Do you think the EPA or OSHA knew their lack of enforcement to provide a level playing would lead to this?
mark the coach
"one voice for the residential construction industry"