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Mass contractors avoiding RRP firm licensing due to OSHA regs

Posted by Mark Paskell on Sun, Sep 02, 2012 @ 11:38 AM

Massachusetts contractors are avoiding the RRP requirement to become a Lead Safe Renovation Contractor (Certified Firm). The chief reason is the OSHA Lead in Construction requirements written into the Mass RRP Law 454 CMR 22.00. This OSHA Standard requires compliance with medical monitoring and respiratory protection provisions. Proof that contractors are avoiding the law is apparent in the number of firms on the Mass Lead Safe Renovation List. To date there after two years there are approximately 3100 Massachusetts companies who have applied for and received their license to legally work on pre-1978 properties in the state. In comparison as of July 2010 there are over 4000 Mass EPA Certified Firms. In our Lead in Construction Trainings workshops contractors are often unaware of the OSHA Standard that has been around for years.

Evolution of the Mass RRP Law

In April of 2010, the Massachusetts legislature approved the Mass RRP Law which became effective on 7/9/2010. The EPA granted Mass the authority to administer and enforce the law. In order to be delegated the authority to take on the RRP program the State had to have a law that was as stringent or more stringent than the EPA RRP Law. The EPA RRP Law teaches contractor to use RRP practices but does not require that contractors be compliant with the OSHA Medical Monitoring, Respiratory and training requirements. The RRP manual does mention that the OSHA Lead in Construction Standard exists but does not require it for compliance with RRP. Potentially this leads to contractors working compliantly with RRP while not compliant with OSHA.                          

                                                                                       RRP/OSHA Training

Example: EPA RRP teaches students to wear a respirator when doing demolition. It fails to mention that OSHA mandates that no person can wear a respirator unless they have been cleared by a physician and then fitted. So a contractor who has his workers wear respirators can be compliant with EPA RRP yet in violation of OSHA.

The State of Massachusetts chose to include the OSHA LIC Standard in their law. The Mass version requires that any contractor with workers do the following in order to qualify to obtain a Lead Safe Renovation Contractor License. The following items are to be completed before a worker is exposed to a lead hazard such as a RRP job:

  • Produce a written a medical monitoring plan
  • Produce a written respiratory plan
  • Each worker must given a blood lead level test
  • Each worker must be given a Zinc protoporphin (ZPP) test
  • Each worker must be given a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT)
  • Each worker must be fitted for a respirator initially and annually thereafter
  • Each worker must be trained on how to use, care and store their respirator
  • Each worker must be trained on the Lead in Construction Standard
  • Each worker must fill out a medical questionnaire prior to testing.
  • Each worker must be provided with the personal protective equipment prior to the work and be trained on how to use and care for it.
  • All training must be documented and records kept for 30 years

After discovering and learning the OSHA requirements and what is required to be a licensed Lead Safe Renovation Contractor in the State of Massachusetts thousands of contractors are avoiding firm certification. Essentially Massachusetts decided to add the OSHA Lead in Construction Standard to the law so that all Mass contractors would be aware of their complete responsibility. It appears that Mass did not want to see contractors trained on the EPA RRP Law thinking that they were all set when doing RRP work only to find out they were in violation of OSHA Standards.

Less than 3% of Massachusetts Contractors are Licensed Lead Safe Renovation Contractors approved to engage to work or work on pre 1978 target housing and Child Occupied Facilities!

As of this post there are around 3100 Licensed RRP contractors in Massachusetts. There are well over 100,000 contractors in the state who do some work on pre-1978 properties. Add in all the other entities who are required to be licensed like landlords who rent out their properties, house flippers, realtor's, banks who own foreclosures and there could be over 200,000 firms.

We have provided training for hundreds of contractors and are told by those who are not Lead Safe Renovation Contractors (Certified Firms) the main reason is the OSHA Lead in Construction Standard written into the Mass 454 CMR 22.00 Lead Law.

To learn more join us at our next RRP/OSHA Lead in Construction Workshop where we cover these topics.

Tags: Mass RRP Certified Firms