Tuesday, August 23, 2016

EPA Reaches Settlement with Harley-Davidson Over Illegal Devices That Increased Air Pollution

EPA filed a $15 million complaint against Harley-Davidson, Inc for
"super tuners" that cause motorcycles produce illegal amounts of air emissions.

Last Thursday, Harley-Davidson Inc. acquiesced to pay $15 million to settle a U.S. government complaint over racing devices that caused its motorcycles to emit illegal levels of air pollution.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges that Harley-Davidson manufactured and sold about 340,000 "Screamin' Eagle Pro Super Tuners" since 2008. These aftermarket devices allowed motorists to alter their motorcycle's emission control system. Also known as "super tuners", they increase a bike's power- and also the amount of harmful air emissions.

The EPA issued a press release last week regarding the allegations:

“Given Harley-Davidson’s prominence in the industry, this is a very significant step toward our goal of stopping the sale of illegal aftermarket defeat devices that cause harmful pollution on our roads and in our communities,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden, head of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Anyone else who manufactures, sells, or installs these types of illegal products should take heed of Harley-Davidson’s corrective actions and immediately stop violating the law.”

The EPA began investigating Harley-Davidson after a standard inspection revealed violations. The EPA also found evidence that Harley-Davidson sold more than 12,000 motorcycles that were not covered by an EPA certificate of conformity and did not meet Clean Air Act standards.

The Clean Air Act requires vehicle manufacturers to certify to the EPA that their vehicles will meet federal emission standards to control air pollution. The Clean Air Act also prohibits manufacturers from making or selling devices that bypass a motor vehicle's EPA-certified emissions. 

In the case of Harley-Davidson, the settlement will prevent the accumulation of hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxygen in our environment. Exposure to high levels of nitrogen oxygen has been linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses; hydrocarbon contributes to ground-level ozone which has been associated with respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

Per the settlement terms, Harley-Davidson will pay a $12 million civil penalty and spend $3 million to mitigate air pollution through a project that replaces wood stoves with clean-burning stoves in local communities. Additionally, Harley-Davidson can no longer sell these super tuners and they will offer to buy back all such tuners at Harley-Davidson dealerships and destroy them.

Still, Harley-Davidson maintains that their actions were legal. According to the motorcycle company, the super tuners were made to be used on racetracks and not public roads.

"This settlement is not an admission of liability but instead represents a good faith compromise with the EPA on areas of law we interpret differently. For more than two decades, we have sold this product under an accepted regulatory approach that permitted the sale of competition-only parts. In our view, it is and was legal to use in race conditions in the U.S,” Ed Moreland, Harley-Davidson's government affairs director, quoted the LA Times in a recent article.

Although the some motorcycle enthusiasts might be unhappy with the litigation, the EPA has full faith that their endeavors are important and necessary for protecting our environment.

“This settlement immediately stops the sale of illegal aftermarket defeat devices used on public roads that threaten the air we breathe,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

The settlement, a proposed consent decree lodged in the United Stated District Court for the District of Columbia, is subject to a 30-day public comment period before it can be entered by the court as final judgment. To view the consent decree or to submit a comment, visit DOJ’s website.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency News Releases
The Los Angeles Times 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Top 10 Training Classes for Contractors

top ten construction training classes for contractors

Being a contractor can require a broad range of skills and certifications, many of which are actually required by law! We've compiled the must-have list of Top Ten Training Classes for Contractors below. Which of these certifications do you have under your belt already? Which do you need to add?

    Contractor Licensing and Continuing Education
  1. Contractor Licensing and Continuing Education
  2. The first and most important step for any contractor is attaining a contractor license. We help thousands of builders and contractors get licensed and complete their required continuing education each year. Our courses are builder friendly and will guide you through every step. All of our programs are created by real industry professionals with decades of experience. We have in-person seminars with experienced instructors, or you can take one of our online courses and progress at your own pace by setting your own study schedule.

    Lead RRP
  3. Lead RRP Renovator Certification
  4. Anyone who performs renovations, repairs, or painting in pre-1978 housing or child-occupied facilities must be Lead-Safe Certified by the EPA or an EPA-Authorized state. Individuals and firms that are not certified could face fines of up to $37,500 per day.

    For first-timers, the Lead Renovator (RRP) Initial Certification course is 8 hours and includes the certification exam. For those who need to renew their Lead RRP certification, we offer Lead Renovator Refresher courses in-person and online.

    OSHA 30-Hour Construction
  5. OSHA 30-Hour Construction
  6. OSHA requires construction supervisors to be properly trained in occupational health and safety for the work site. You'll also want to make sure workers are registered for the OSHA 10-Hour Construction course to avoid OSHA fines.

    Fall Protection - Competent Person
  7. Fall Protection - Competent Person
  8. Become the competent person for your work site and learn to design a workable strategy for decreasing accidents while increasing general awareness on the purpose, use, regulations, and hazards of fall protection and the use of fall protection systems.
    LEED Green Building Exam Prep
  9. LEED Green Building Exam Prep
  10. Green construction numbers continue to grow, as sustainable design and building practices shift from being idealistic to the norm (and often required). The LEED Green Associate training provides an introduction to one of the most popular green building certification systems that is recognized world wide, and discusses real green building strategies and initiatives.

    Lead Removal
  11. Lead Removal
  12. The Lead Supervisor course trains contractors to perform and supervise the safe removal of lead-based paint hazards. This certification is required by the EPA and EPA-authorized states for work performed on residential properties and public buildings. If you're working on a lead job under the supervision of a certified supervisor, the Lead Abatement Worker course will certify you to just perform the removal work.

    Asbestos Removal
  13. Asbestos Removal
  14. This course is for any individual who performs supervision of persons permitted to enter the restricted and regulated asbestos abatement work area. The supervisor is also responsible for performing the duties of the OSHA competent person for the asbestos project, consistent with current EPA and OSHA regulations. This workshop prepares you to immediately apply your knowledge to the field, with extensive hands-on training and real-world examples from experienced instructors. The Asbestos Abatement Worker course is for those who wish to remove asbestos, who will be under supervision of a licensed supervisor.

    Mold Remediation
  15. Mold Remediation
  16. Whether you plan perform mold removal yourself or supervise a job, the Mold Remediation course provides an extensive workshop which prepares you to immediately apply your knowledge to the field, with extensive hands-on training and real-world examples from experienced instructors. The course also offers insight on mold inspections and sampling techniques so you can interpret inspection reports to prepare for the mold remediation work that lies ahead.

    EPA 608 Certification
  17. EPA 608 Certification
  18. This course and testing will enable you to obtain your EPA license in order to work with and handle refrigerants in common air conditioners and HVAC units. EPA 608 HVAC Technician Certification is required by Section 608 of the Federal Clean Air Act for anyone who maintains, services, repairs, or disposes of appliances that contain regulated refrigerants. Individuals must also be certified in proper refrigerant handling techniques. Registration includes on-demand access to online prep course, which reviews the CORE, Type I, Type II, and Type III exam material.

    HVAC Design
  19. HVAC Design
  20. ACCA's Manual J is the first step in the design process of a new HVAC system. By following the Manual J methodology, HVAC designers are able to accurately determine the total amount of heat that is lost through the exterior of a home during the cooler months, and the total amount of heat that is gained through the exterior of a home during the warmer months.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Washington Reciprocity for the RRP Lead Renovator Refresher Online Course

Online EPA lead renovator refresher course for RRP Certification
Earlier this year, Zack Academy was approved by the EPA as a provider for the online version of the EPA Lead Renovator refresher course. When taken online, the refresher course renews an EPA Lead Renovator certification for 3 years, after which an in-person refresher course must be attended to continue the certification.

Several US states are approved by the EPA to run their own lead paint renovation program, which the EPA refers to as "EPA-Authorized" states. Several of these states are not yet recognizing the online refresher as a viable renewal option, or require additional steps to be taken after the online course, so it's important to be aware of your local requirements prior to registering for training.

In this post we will be reviewing the steps required by the EPA-Authorized state of Washington in order to take the online version of the RRP refresher course.

How to Renew Your Lead RRP Certification in Washington via the ZA Online Refresher Course:

  1. Register for the Online Lead Renovator Refresher course.
  2. Complete the course and pass the final exam prior to your previous expiration date.
  3. Receive certificate of completion from Zack Academy via email.
  4. Complete the WA Individual RRP Reciprocity Form
    • $25 Application Fee 
    • Submit with a copy of your new refresher certificate
  5. Submit a Firm Application to WA to Register or renew your WA Firm Certification.
    1. $25 Application Fee (Valid for 5 years)

Additional Requirements

  • If you work in EPA enforced states, make sure to register your firm with EPA as well at https://www.epa.gov/lead/getcertified (See step 2).
  • If you work in OR or other EPA-authorized states, check with that state for additional eligibility and registration requirements.

Alternative Option - In-person Training

Alternatively, you can take the course in person to skip the reciprocity application and $25 fee. This will also renew your certification for 5 years, as opposed to 3 years with the online course.
View our full schedule of in-person Washington Lead Renovator Refresher courses at https://www.zackacademy.com/class/epa-lead-certification/lead-renovators-certification-refresher?select_state_et=wa

More about the RRP Rule

As of April 2010, anyone who performs qualifying renovation, repair, or painting (RRP) work on housing or child-occupied facilities (daycares, schools, etc.) that were built before 1978 must comply with the Lead RRP Rule.

The law requires that companies performing this type of work must be registered as a Lead Safe Firm with the EPA ($300 fee) or an EPA-authorized state (fees vary), and at least one person supervising the work must be a Certified Renovator, which is achieved by taking the 8-hour Lead Renovator Initial Certification Course

Renewal of the Certified Renovator training course is required by the EPA, by taking a 4-hour refresher course prior to expiring.

EPA Announces Big Penalties for Lead Paint RRP Rule Violations

The Renovate Right pamphlet is required to be distributed prior to RRP work.

EPA recently announced over $350,000 in recent penalties issued to residential contractors and property managers found in violation of the Lead RRP Rule, including failing to distribute the Renovate Right pamphlet to tenants.

Earlier this month, the EPA announced a series of large enforcement actions against violators of the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule and Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule, under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

EPA Region 1 (New England):
  • EPA has issued an administrative complaint against Brady Sullivan Millworks II, LLC and Brady Sullivan Millworks IV, LLC (Brady Sullivan) of Manchester N.H., seeking a penalty of $139,171 for alleged violations of the Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule and the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.
    • The EPA alleges that the company violated TSCA when it failed to provide tenants with lead paint disclosure information. The complaint also alleges that Brady Sullivan Millworks IV violated three provisions of the RRP Rule during renovation activities.
  • An administrative complaint was issued by the EPA against Environmental Compliance Specialists, Inc. (ECSI) of Kingston N.H., seeking a penalty of $152,848 for alleged violations of the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.
    • EPA's complaint against ECSI alleges that during renovation activities, the company violated six provisions of the RRP Rule, including failure to properly contain the work area.
Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office commented, "EPA always works to ensure that building owners, property managers, and construction contractors understand and comply with federal lead-paint disclosure and lead-safe work practice requirements to protect people from exposure to lead. This is especially important when children are involved since exposure to lead can have serious developmental impacts on kids' growing bodies and minds."

EPA Region 9 (Pacific Southwest):
  • The EPA fined Clearview Home Improvements Inc. $58,450 for failing to comply with the federal Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule while working at seven residential properties in Southern California. The company performs energy efficient home improvements, such as installing windows and vinyl siding. 
    • An EPA inspection found that the company performed renovation work at pre-1978 homes without:
      • confirming that a certified renovator, who ensured compliance with the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, was assigned to the job
      • keeping records to show that the renovator complied with lead-safe work practices
      • maintaining proper certification as a Renovation, Repair and Painting firm
      • providing clients with the required federal Renovate Right brochure, which gives basic facts about lead and information about lead safety during renovation work
“While renovations can make homes energy efficient, it is crucial to protect residents from the hazards of lead paint dust,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Lead-based paint is the main source of lead poisoning for children, and even low levels of lead in their blood can cause irreversible harm.”

Many contractors don't realize that record-keeping is required to be maintained for any lead-safe RRP job for 3 years after completion. We strongly recommend implementing a thorough documentation process of all work performed under the RRP rule. The Lead RRP Project binder is a great tool to start with, as it provides a roadmap all of the necessary paperwork that the EPA would request in the event of an audit, along with instructions, examples, and blank forms to use for your next job. If you're interested in this tool, it's available in our online store at http://shop.zackacademy.com/lead-safe-rrp-project-binder/.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

How to Get an EPA 608 Technician Certification Online

EPA 608 Technician Certification Exam for refrigerents

Before we discuss the two available EPA 608 Technician Certification Online Exam courses, it's first important to know which exam you need to take.

Which Type of EPA 608 Certification Do I Need?
  • TYPE I: For servicing, maintaining or repairing small appliances that contain less than 5 pounds of refrigerants.
  • TYPE II: For servicing, maintaining, repairing or disposing of high pressure appliances, except small appliances and motor vehicle air conditioning systems (MVACS).
  • TYPE III: For servicing, maintaining, repairing or disposing of low pressure appliances, such as chillers.
  • UNIVERSAL: For servicing, maintaining, repairing or disposing of ALL types of equipment. To achieve the Universal Certification, Technicians must pass the CORE, I, II, & III exam sections. 

Which EPA 608 Certification program should I register for?
When signing up for an EPA 608 Technician Certification exam online you have two options:

1. EPA 608 Technician Certification Online Anytime - $200
  • Includes online preparatory course and materials for all exam sections.
  • Includes all proctoring fees (CORE, Type I, II, III or Universal) when taken online - students must have a webcam and microphone.
  • It is also possible to take the type II and III exams in-person; however, there will be a small additional proctoring fee required.
2. EPA 608 Technician Certification Exam Online Anytime - $150
  • Includes the online proctoring fees only - no prep course
    • CORE, Type I, II, III or Universal
  • Students must have a webcam an microphone to take the exam online.
  • The exam must be scheduled 72 hours in advance, however it can be scheduled for any day, any time, 24/7.
  • Free practice exams are available for review prior to sitting for the exams.
With both options, participants can select which test sections they'd like to take - for example, if you only need Type I certification, you would only need to take the CORE and Type I tests. For EPA Universal Certification, you must past all sections: CORE, Type I,  Type II, and Type III.

Remember, EPA 608 Technician Certification Is the LAW!
Companies with un-certified employees are are subject to heavy fines (max $27,500) as well as the employee who does not have this specific certification. Regardless of Local, State or Industry licenses the EPA 608 Technician Certification is still required if you work on refrigerant containing equipment.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to call 646-564-3546 or contact us at any time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Zack Academy Partners With Mid-Atlantic Maritime Safety To Offer OSHA 10-Hour Maritime Industry Courses


Fort Lauderdale, FL (August 2, 2016)
- Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a leading provider of career-oriented training and certification courses, announced today that it will include courses offered by Mid-Atlantic Maritime Safety in its catalog of class listings.

Based in Smithfield, Virginia, Mid-Atlantic Maritime Safety offers public OSHA 10-Hour Maritime Industry courses as well as custom, on-site training for groups of 3 or more. Mid-Atlantic’s next public OSHA 10-Hour Maritime Industry course, starting August 9th, provides training for workers and employers on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of safety and health hazards in workplaces in the maritime industry. The program also provides information regarding workers' rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint. The 10-hour class is intended for entry level workers, while the 30-hour class is more appropriate for supervisors or workers with some safety responsibility.

“Lead by industry veteran John Moore, Mid-Atlantic Maritime Safety is a staple in the shipyard community. This partnership brings another exemplary trainer and expands our maritime safety course offerings in coastal Virginia,” said Zachary Rose, Founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

John Moore, Owner of Mid-Atlantic Maritime Safety commented, “Since 2012 we have provided OSHA 10-Hour training for hundreds of workers throughout the United States. This partnership with Zack Academy allows us to extend our reach and continue on our goal to successfully and safely train shipyard workers nationwide.”

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.

About Mid-Atlantic Maritime Safety:Since 2012, Mid-Atlantic Maritime Safety Training Services has provided OSHA 10-Hour Maritime shipyard employment courses for hundreds of workers throughout the United States. We specialize in Maritime OSHA Outreach Training, NAVSEA/OSHA Compliance Consulting, and Accident Investigations. Our students unanimously agree that our courses are uniquely entertaining and effective through insightful and engaging lectures and student participation.

Release Contact:Peter Sfraga
Marketing Manager