I learned today that Region 1 OSHA and Region 1 EPA (New England) have issued an EPA/OSHA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the RRP Lead Rule and other safety matters. This MOU (link below) has been signed by Region 1 OSHA and EPA officers. Essentially the two agencies will work together to ensure that EPA RRP Law and OSHA safety standards are complied with on residential construction projects. Contractors may see both agencies riding together visiting job sites.
The Contractor Coaching Partnership Blog
Another contractor has been fined by the EPA for violating lead laws. The company is a painting contractor caught working in violation of the law in Hillsboro, Oregon.
Homeowners, looking for the cheapest price are hiring illegal contractors at an alarming rate. Homeowners read and listen to the news and think that they can beat up any contractor to get a cheap price. Consumers are more inclined today to take a chance on the lowest price (which comes with the risk that the contractor is not playing by the rules) due to our current economic climate. They are willing to believe the cheap price will still get them a great job from desperate contractors.
To snitch or not to snitch, that is the question. Last week at the EMNARI dinner there was a discussion on the subject of contractors reporting illegal contractors to the authorities. This subject never fails to raise the volume of any conversation.
Legitimate, licensed, insured, RRP certified tax paying contractors want the EPA to start enforcing and fining illegal contractors now.
Recently a Boston landlord got nailed for $85,000 for not following the lead disclosure laws. In 2010, we saw the focus for EPA RRP training on contractors.
The low number of RRP Certified Firms proves that the EPA's efforts to bring contractors into RRP compliance is failing. RRP compliant contractors we speak with, from Mass, NH, Maine, R.I., Conn, Pa, and New York, are justifably concerned that they will have to compete against contractors who do not include the costs of RRP practices. Contractors tell me everyday that they are losing jobs to non compliant contractors including illegal aliens, laid off construction workers, moonlighting fireman, teachers and munincipal employees. Contractors tell us that the underground contracting community is growing larger because the RRP Law is pushing more contractors to work illegally. Consumers are telling contractors that they do not want to pay additional costs associated with RRP. Consumers already under economic pressures, are eager to hire illegal contractors and take their chances. Last week I was told by a remodeler that he lost 4 projects this month to contractors who are not RRP registered in the State of Massachusetts or with the EPA. These jobs are on properties built before 1900!
On Thursday 12/16/2010 in Boston, the Mass Department of Occupational Safety will be meeting with the Division of Labor to discuss funding for their department for 2011. The DOL and DOS hearing is open to the public. I have been invited by the DOS to share thoughts and suggestions regarding the Mass RRP Lead Law.
EPA RRP Training requires that contractors comply with OSHA Laws governing lead safe practices. In the following slide from the EPA RRP Manual in Module 2, see OSHA followed by the bullet point; established worker protection standards.
I was asked by a few contractors in a RRP training what part did our President play in the EPA RRP lead Rule. I came upon this great post and decided to re-post it in its entirety for all to read. This article by Mike Finley from ContractorTalk.com tells the story quite well. Notice how much was budgeted for enforcement.