Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Zack Academy Partner Speaks at TEDx Talk on Lead Poisoning

Kate Kirkwood, founder of Lead-Edu, a partner with Zack Academy, spoke
on the dangers of lead in homes and how to prevent lead poisoning at a TEDx Talk
event in Wilmington, DE.

Kate Kirkwood, founder of Lead-Edu (a Zack Academy training partner), was recently selected to provide a TEDx Talk on the dangers of lead in homes. In her presentation, Kirkwood describes lead hazards in both old and even new homes, and educates the public on simple steps they can take to prevent lead poisoning from happening to them.

The brainchild of nonprofit organization TED, TEDx Talk is a global community of experts who provide short and informative presentations on a variety of subjects. The talks are free to view in keeping with the spirit of the nonprofit. Some famous talks include magician David Blaineauthor Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, and life coach Tony Robbins

As a professional with decades of experience and several national and state lead certifications, Kirkwood was a natural choice to provide a talk on lead poisoning. Based in New Hampshire, her training facility Lead-EDU provides training such as lead abatement and lead-safe renovation

During her presentation, she recounted the story of a child in her home state who died of lead poisoning, which sparked her passion for spreading the word on lead paint safety.

"I got hooked on this problem, and I've been trying to make a difference ever since," Kate Kirkwood, founder of Lead-Edu, said during her TEDx Talk.

Kirkwood is no stranger to educating the public on lead safety. Besides her TEDx Talk, she runs a Youtube channela blog, and has even authored books on the subject. Despite being an expert, she is able to write to the average person uninitiated in lead paint. In the spirit of her "lead paint clear and simple" mantra, Kirkwood authored a children's book to spread awareness about lead poisoning prevention.

"Far too many children are poisoned every year, and I believe the only thing that will make a difference is greater awareness,"  Kirkwood wrote in a recent recap of her TEDx Talk.

Our partners at Zack Academy do more than just provide certifications - many of them, like Ms. Kirkwood, educate the public on the real-life impact of the work their work. Sharing the knowledge they have with others can help prevent tragedies. Zack Academy congratulates Kate Kirkwood on her first TEDx Talk- and hopes it inspires professionals at all levels to spread the word on lead poisoning prevention.

To learn more about Kate Kirkwood's lead paint safety activism, visit her website. To learn more about lead paint certification and how to get started in this field, visit Zack Academy. Zack Academy offers the best live in-person and online vocational training courses all in one place.

Palmer Engineering and Forensics Joins Zack Academy Network to Offer MSHA, OSHA Training in Utah


Fort Lauderdale, FL (August 7, 2018) - Zack Academy, a national provider of certification and training courses, announced today that it has partnered with Palmer Engineering and Forensics, LLC to offer miner safety, asbestos, hazardous materials, and OSHA safety courses in Utah.

Based in North Salt Lake, UT, Palmer Engineering and Forensics offers several safety courses taught by experienced instructors. Courses include New Miner Training and annual refreshers; OSHA 10-Hour and 30-Hour Outreach programs; HAZWOPER 40-Hour Initial; and this fall Palmer will be launching asbestos contractor training courses. The company also offers courses in Spanish.

Palmer Engineering and Forensic's next course, the MSHA Annual Refresher Training, is a required by the Mining Safety and Health Administration to renew a surface miner certification . Participants in this course review mine safety protocol, including industry updates and new standard equipment- in order to recognize hazards and prevent accidents.

"Palmer Engineering and Forensics, LLC is a great addition to the Zack Academy Network in Utah, providing the necessary training to support the local industries in their area," commented Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

About Palmer Engineering and Forensics, LLC:
Palmer Engineering & Forensics, LLC sees that education is the one of the keys to a successful project. We pride ourselves on impactful, meaningful training done with the purpose of making better workers and citizens. We strive to provide the very best trainers and the very best experience to each student.

About Zack Academy:
Zack Academy is a leading online marketplace for career-oriented training and certification courses, offering classes and seminars across the United States in areas including software and programming training; construction; contractor licensing and renewal; lead, asbestos and mold certification; LEED exam prep; stormwater and water management; solar training; cleaning/restoration/water damage; business practices; analytics; and more. Zack Academy provides a one-stop shop for career and certification training in partnership with hundreds of local training companies across the United States.

Release Contact:
India Edouard
Operations & Marketing Assistant

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Want to Join a LEED Committee? How to Make Your USGBC Volunteer Application Stand Out

LEED Volunteering opportunities are extremely competitive,
but the USGBC offers some simple tips to help your
application stand out more.

Each year, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) calls for volunteers to participate on their LEED Committees. Volunteers get exclusive networking opportunities and other incentives. The competition is stiff- and this year is no different as USGBC only expects to appoint 40 volunteers. Luckily, the USGBC has provided some tips to make your application stand out.

Tips for your LEED Committee Volunteer Application

  • Be multi-faceted: Do you hold a LEED credential? Are you certified in more than one credit category? Elaborate on this in your application- professionals who have experience with the LEED system have a competitive edge.
  • Be unique: If you have any talents not specifically related to LEED- such as serving on a research team, public speaking, foreign language skills, a background in another field- this is your opportunity to sell them. Your unique experiences can bring a new perspective to committees.
  • Speak up on changes: Do you have ideas on how the LEED rating system could be improved to better serve your sector? Do you see unique opportunities for LEED in your region? Do you have suggestions on how improve the LEED certification process? LEED Committees put ideas into action- put your ideas on your application.
  • Work a USGBC member organization: This one is a requirement for volunteers. If your company is not a member yet, tiered membership options are available.

Some of this year's most interesting projects include sustainability initiatives in public schools and Chicago's Greenbuild expo. More volunteer opportunities are available depending on experience level.

For USGBC members, serving on a LEED Committee can be an amazing opportunity to further their career. Volunteers collaborate with leaders in various industries- such as engineering, public health, wildlife conservation, and more- to come up with real solutions to tackle's today's sustainability issues. LEED professionals can even report up to half of their volunteering hours as continuing education.

To learn more about LEED volunteering opportunities, visit the USGBC website. To learn more about LEED exam prep and LEED continuing education, visit Zack Academy.

RRP Rule: Registering as a Lead-Safe Firm With EPA

The EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule requires proper training on lead-safe practices, as well as a Lead-Safe certification for your business. In a previous post, we covered the steps that Lead Renovators must complete for their business certification if they work in EPA-Authorized states, or states with their own individual lead programs.

Today, we will cover the process for businesses that work in EPA-Controlled states, which include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming.
For the EPA states above, an application is required to register your company as a Lead-Safe Firm to perform RRP work. This firm certification is required even if you are a sole-proprietor! The application can be completed before or after you or your employees attend the Lead Renovator course, so we recommend submitting it as soon as possible to avoid delays on the jobsite. 

To complete the Firm Registration, visit the EPA's firm certification page (http://www.epa.gov/lead/getcertified). The firm registration costs $300, and you will be prompted to pay EPA directly online as part of the registration.

When you click on the "apply now" button, you'll be brought to a search page. Complete the search form even though you haven't registered your company yet - you'll be prompted to start a new application at the end of the page.

Note: You can skip the "certificate number" field on this page

At the bottom of the search results you will find the New Application Link:

EPA's website will ask you to verify which registration you want. For RRP work, select New Renovation Firm for $300:

You will be directed to the EPA's Central Data Exchange (CDX). Through this portal, you'll create an account and complete your registration:

After you complete the registration, you will receive an email confirmation. Your Firm Registration Certificate will also be delivered via e-mail, typically within a few weeks. The certificate will have your company's name on it, as opposed to your RRP certification certificate which has your individual name or your employee's name on it.

The Firm Registration is valid for 5 years. To renew a Firm Registration, contractors can simply re-apply online using the Search function.  Not having the Firm Certification is one of the most common EPA enforcement actions, so register you company today to comply with the RRP rule requirements and avoid excessive fines.

To register for a lead renovation class, visit Zack Academy. We offer the the most comprehensive online schedule for RRP initial and refresher classes, with easy registration.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Judge Refuses to Dismiss Sherwin-Williams Lead Paint Lawsuit

sherwin-williams lead paint case
A federal judge denied Sherwin-Williams' motion to 
dismiss a lead paint lawsuit against them.

Last week, a federal judge in Wisconsin denied a motion to dismiss a lead paint lawsuit against Sherwin-Williams.

The plaintiff, Glen Burton, through his guardian ad litem Susan M. Gramling, sued Sherwin-Williams among 10 others for alleged injuries due to exposure to lead paint in the plaintiff's residence. The lawsuit was invoked under the risk contribution theory - or the theory that if a plaintiff cannot determine the exact manufacturer of the specific paint that caused them harm, they may sue all of the industry leaders. In the plaintiff's case, the paint had been in his residence since before he moved there.

Notable lead paint lawsuits have been won under the risk contribution theory. According to the theory, the individual manufacturer becomes responsible for proving that they did not produce the paint in question.

Sherwin-Williams argued that the risk contribution theory cannot be invoked unless a plaintiff can prove an "insurmountable obstacle" prevented them from determining the manufacturer of the lead paint in their residence. According to Sherwin-Williams, the plaintiffs should have had the paint chemically tested to narrow down the list of potential manufacturers.

Judge Lynn Adelman denied the motion after concluding that the plaintiff did not need to provide a "prerequisite need" to apply the risk contribution theory to his case.

"I am not persuaded that the law of risk contribution imposes such a threshold burden on WLC plaintiffs," Judge Adelman said in the judgement.

Furthermore, Judge Adelman said that the applicability of the risk contribution theory has already been established by the state supreme court; therefore, it would be "illogical and repetitious" to require the plaintiffs to complete more testing once lead paint was found in the plaintiff's residence. The court added that requiring plaintiffs to demonstrate that they have tried but failed to identify the manufacturer would neither improve the integrity of the process.

The case will continue through the Milwaukee County Circuit.

To learn more about this case, visit the court document. To learn more about lead paint safety certification and how to get involved in this field, visit Zack Academy.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

OSHA Reminds Workers to Stay Cool this Summer

osha warning
OSHA reminds workers of safety tips to
prevent heat illnesses on the job this summer.

This summer, OSHA is reminding all employers and workers to take precaution against heat illnesses. With a brutal heatwave sweeping the northern hemisphere, it's important for anyone working in a labor-intensive field to brush up on heat illness facts to prevent accidents before they happen.

The reminder comes directly from several state OSHA programs. In sunny states such as California, the local OSHA program reiterates the importance of common heat safety protocol. However, some surprising states such as Oregon are emphasizing the risk of heat illness. In typically colder states, workers may not be accustomed to working in warm temperatures, putting them at a higher risk for heat stroke and heat sickness.

"Prevention really comes down to taking several important precautions," Penny Wolf-McCormick, health enforcement manager for the Oregon OSHA branch, said in a recent press release.

Heat illnesses cover a range of disorders due to exposure to heat. These can include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat rash and heat syncope. Symptoms of heat illness include dizziness, nausea, confusion, dry skin, and an abnormally rapid pulse. If left untreated, people can die from certain heat illnesses such as heat stroke.

Working long hours of strenuous tasks in heavy protective gear only increases the risk of injury. However, it is possible to prevent heat illness with proper safety.

To prevent heat-related illness, OSHA recommends these heat-safety tips:
  • Perform the heaviest, most labor-intensive work during the coolest part of the day.
  • Use the buddy system (work in pairs) to monitor the heat.
  • Drink plenty of cool water- aim for one small cup every 20 minutes.
  • Water light, loose-fitting, and breathable clothing.
  • Take frequent short breaks in cool, shaded areas - allow your body to cool down.
  • Avoid eating large meals before working in hot environments.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages - they can dehydrate the body and increase the risk of heat illnesses.
If someone on a job site presents with heat sickness symptoms, workers should follow this protocol:
  • Move them to a cool, shaded area but do not leave them alone.
  • Loosen and remove heavy clothing.
  • Provide cool water to drink.
  • Try to cool them by fanning them, spraying them with a cool mist of water or applying a cold, wet cloth.
  • If they do not feel better in a few minutes, call 911 for emergency services.

To learn more about the OSHA standards for occupational heat exposure, visit their website. To learn more about OSHA training, visit Zack Academy.

RRP EPA-Authorized States: Registration Requirements for Renovators

After a contractor gets their lead renovation (RRP) certification, they need to make sure their business is registered with the appropriate governing body. For most contractors, that means they only have to register their company with the EPA. However, if you're a contractor working in one of the 14 EPA-Authorized "special" states, there's a few extra steps your business needs to take in order to be compliant with lead paint safety laws.

EPA-Authorized states are states that have been granted permission by the EPA to run their own lead-safe renovation program in lieu of the EPA's federal program. These state programs are either equal to or more stringent than the EPA federal requirements. These state programs also have their own bureaus for keeping track of lead work- so contractors have to register with them directly.

For EPA-Authorized states, there are two types of registrations they may be asked to complete:
  • Individual Registration: Refers to an application submitted to enforcing body after an individual completes the Lead Renovator training class.
  • Firm Registration: Refers to an application submitted to an enforcing body that denotes your company is a lead-safe firm and is licensed to perform RRP work. This is required even if you are a sole proprietor.
In all EPA-Authorized states, contractors are required to complete a Firm Registration. In some EPA-Authorized states, contractors must also complete an Individual Registration. Both of these registrations are required in order to be compliant with federal lead-safe laws. If an unregistered contractor performs work on properties containing lead paint, they can face thousands of dollars in fines.

The EPA-Authorized "special" states include: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.

If you work in these "special" states, take a look at the registration requirements we've gathered below. For more information on EPA-Authorized states, check out some of our previous posts on special state reciprocity and special state renewal requirements.

Please note: all fees are subject to change.

EPA-Authorized State Registration Requirements

Individuals performing RRP work in Alabama must register with the University of Alabama's Division of Environmental and Industrial Programs - the annual fee is $100. In addition, Renovators must work under an Alabama-certified contractor. This annual fee is $300, paid to the Alabama Department of Public Health. View Alabama website and forms.

After class, individuals must register with the state which is a $100 fee (view DE forms). The training and certification are valid for 2 years. Individuals must work under a company that is registered via the DE RRP Firm Certification Application - this app can be completed online and is also a $100 fee and valid for 2 years.

Individuals performing RRP work in Georgia must register with the Georgia EPD after attending class. The fee is $150, and it is valid for 3 years. In addition, Renovators must work under a Georgia-certified firm, which is $125 for 1 year, or $300 for 3 years. View Georgia RRP Application Forms.

Individuals performing RRP work in Iowa must register with the Iowa Department of Public Health. This fee is $60 every year. Renovators must also work under an Iowa-certified firm. There is no fee for the firm certificate at this time. On their website, they show you how to register online through their portal (Iowa Firm Application & Iowa Renovator Application)

Individuals performing RRP work in Kansas must register with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Kansas Individual App. There is no fee at this time. In addition, Renovators must work under a Kansas-certified renovation firm Kansas Firm App. This fee is $200 for the initial firm certificate, with a renewal cost of $100 every five years.

Individuals and firms performing RRP work in Massachusetts must register with the Massachusetts DLS (MA Renovator Application). The fee is $375, and it is valid for 5 years.

The annual Firm registration fee for MS is $350, paid to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) (Mississippi Firm App). Individuals performing RRP work in Mississippi must also register with the Mississippi DEQ after class (Mississippi Individual App). The first two individual Renovators at a firm can be registered with MS at no additional cost. After two Renovators, additional certified employees are $75 each. View updated fees and forms at the MS Lead Program Website.

North Carolina
After class, individuals must register with the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services. Contractors must also register to become a Certified Renovation Firm, and there is a yearly $300 fee. The Firm Certification must be renewed every year. View all forms at the NC Public Health Website.

Firms must be certified to perform RRP work in Oklahoma. The firm fee is $300 paid directly to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and it is valid for five years - the application can be downloaded here: Firm App. Individuals do not need to put in a separate application to the state to become certified.

Firms must be certified to perform RRP work in Oregon. The fee is $250 paid to the Oregon Health Authority and it is valid for five years. Or if you are a contractor registered with Oregon CCB (Construction Contractors Board) and you already have a contractor's license, the fee to become a certified firm is $50 and you should submit the Oregon CCB Lead Renovation Firm Application. Visit the OR Health Authority Website to learn more and view forms.

Rhode Island
Individuals performing RRP work in Rhode Island must register with the Rhode Island Department - the fee is $40 and is valid for five years. Renovators must work under a Rhode Island-certified Lead Hazard Control Firm. This fee is also $40 and is valid for five years. Visit the Rhode Island Department of Health website for more information and forms.

After attending the RRP class, Utah requires individuals to be registered for a fee of $110 per year (View Utah Individual Application). Firms must also be registered with the state as a Lead-based Paint Renovation Firm for $110 per year. Find more information visit the Utah DEQ Website.

Renovation firms must register with the Washington Dept. of Commerce and pay a $25 fee, which is valid for 5 years. Individuals who would like to perform RRP activities in Washington state but were certified by the EPA or other authorized state can do so by registering and paying a $25 fee, which is valid for 5 years. For current applications and additional info, visit the WA Lead RRP Program website.


Renovation firms must register with the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services and pay a $75 fee, which is valid for 2 years. Registration can be completed online or by mail. Individuals who would like to perform RRP activities in Wisconsin but were certified by the EPA or other authorized state can do so by registering and paying DHS a $50 fee every two years, and attend the Renovator initial or subsequent refresher training every 4 years. Individuals who attended training out of state and have a valid training certificate can apply for reciprocity with WI via a $25 additional fee. View all WI Lead Renovation forms and further details at the WI DHS website.

To register for a lead renovation class today, visit Zack Academy. We offer the the most comprehensive online schedule for RRP initial and refresher classes, with easy registration.