Certified remodelers breathed a sigh of relief after the recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision against adding “clearance testing” to the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule, but significant challenges still face the industry as it attempts to comply with the law. Such was the focus of a recent RRP workshop conducted by the Lead and Environmental Hazards Association (LEHA) and the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) in conjunction with the EPA.
Among the most pressing issues is the disconnect between OSHA and RRP. As panelist Dave Merrick, president of Merrick Design Build, in Kensington, Md., pointed out, OSHA workplace lead requirements are much more stringent than RRP’s, and compliance is more costly. E.g., according to OSHA’s Lead in Construction standard (29CFR 1926.62), contractors must either use air monitoring and other costly measures to prove acceptable lead levels on their jobsites, or assume the worst and provide personal protective equipment and the requisite training to ensure that workers use it properly.
The solution was summed up neatly by panelist Kathleen Lauckner, Environmental Training Program Coordinator, UNLV Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies: “What we need to agree to for this to all work properly is either OSHA has to let up on the contractor for [ RRP violations], or RRP has to follow OSHA.” Unfortunately, the kind of coordination needed between OSHA and EPA is nowhere in sight.
—Sal Alfano, editorial director, REMODELING.