The State of Massachusetts has made significant changes to the Lead Safe Renovator Contractor (LSRC) License application. The changes allow contractors to attest that they currently comply with the RRP laws' medical monitoring and respiratory requirements. In August the most recent application was released superseding former forms. I covered this in our RRP 5 year Renewal Refresher course last week and got some interesting feedback from the students.
Earlier this year Shawn McCadden and I spoke at the Department of Labor Standards open hearing regarding changes and amendments to the Mass Lead Safe Renovation RRP Law. We made comments and asked for some clarification on RRP matters including the OSHA requirements.
Mass Contractors and Landlords avoiding the RRP Law in Droves
I asked several questions about the OSHA requirements in the law. Also I stated that the law is poorly adhered to in Massachusetts and very few contractors have obtained the mandatory license to work on pre-1978 homes in the commonwealth. As far as landlords are concerned you can just forget it. There is no effective effort causing landlords to sign up.
OSHA requirements in Mass Law cause's contractors to forgo the RRP LSRC License.
In July of 2010 there were 4500 EPA Certified Firms when Mass took over the law. Currently there are less than 3800 of which there are only a little over 3000 contractors. The reason for the lower number is due to Massachusetts adopting the OSHA Lead in Construction Standard (LICS) which was incorporated into the statute (454 CMR 22.0).
The LICS requires that contractors with employees provide OSHA medical monitoring and respiratory written plans with the application to obtain the LSRC license. The LICS also requires that employers have their employes base line screened for lead and cleared to wear a respirator. This includes a BLL and ZPP blood test and a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT).
Then the employer is required by OSHA to train their employees on the Medical Monitoring and Respiratory standards and how to use, wear and care for respirators. In addition each employee must be fitted for a respirator (clean shaven, everyone must shave their beards) and the employer must pay for everything stated in the previous sentences.
After 4 years I am suspecting that the Department of Labor and Standards is concerned that more contractors are not licensed and they decided to soften the requirement to provide written plans with the application for licensing.
New Mass RRP Lead Safe Renovation License Application
Click for Updated Mass RRP LSRC Application
For Firms with Employees; in the new license application an applicant who already has a Medical Monitoring and Respiratory written plan, has screened employees for blood lead levels and had them cleared by a doctor to wear a respirator, they can simply attest to that fact. They do not have to submit the plans and proof of compliance with the application. The former application required a written medical and respiratory plan to qualify for your license.
I am thinking, will this lead to more contractors submitting their application attesting that they are in compliance even though they do not have plans in place? Unlike commercial contractors the majority of residential contractors are not up to speed on OSHA requirements.
I predict many contractors will roll the dice and attest that they have their plans in place. Contractors will sign the application under the penalties of perjury while not complying and chance that no one will look any futher. Contractors know that the chances of getting caught are very small. Even though Mass is enforcing more than the entire EPA it has published over 100 fined contractors on the state DLS website the shear volume of projects in the state make it difficult for the DLS to be everywhere.
The Department of Labor Standards does not have enough resources to make sure that all applications submitted with attestations are verified.
For sole proprietors with no employees; one man companies will be allowed to write a note stating they have no employees and have someone from DLS witness the statement. The former requirement stipulated that the sole proprietor must submit a notarized statement.
I suspect that many contractors who roll the dice will not be caught. However if a contractor has an employee who develops lead poisoning during their employment the ramnifications could be huge. A lead poisoned employee will be put on the lead registry. They will seek to find the cause and the trail may lead to scrutiny of employer documents. If an employer is found to be negligent (not providing a safe workplace...lead hazard) and he submitted an application stating he has medical monitoring and respiratory plans and provisions in place and he does not...signing the application under the penalites of purjury without complying could assist with a signficant court judgment and award.
To learn more join me at one of our upcoming Mass RRP Lead Safe Renovator Supervisor courses.