Tuesday, February 28, 2017

CDC-funded National Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Training Center is Offering Free Training in 2017

The CDC-funded National Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Training Center is offering two 3-1/2 day trainings in 2017: 
  1. March 27-30 in Atlanta, Georgia 
  2. May 15-18 in St. Louis, Missouri
These trainings will focus on implementing practical strategies to build programs, conduct housing-based primary prevention, develop and maintain strategic partnerships, and improve linkage to care. They are being managed by CDC's contractor, Karna, LLC, and its subcontractor, Healthy Housing Solutions (Solutions), and are primarily targeted to childhood lead poisoning prevention staff from state and local health departments, and related private sector organizations.

First preference for registration will be given to CDC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention cooperative agreement recipients. Others encouraged and eligible to participate in this training include:
  • Home inspectors, sanitarians, code inspectors, outreach staff, community health workers, visiting nurses, and care coordinators;
  • Staff from Maternal and Child Health or Federally Qualified Health Centers with home visiting programs, community action agencies, community development corporations, community-based organizations, and tenant councils;
  • Staff from asthma and injury prevention programs; and
  • Individuals from other agencies or private sector organizations working in the lead poisoning prevention and healthy homes fields.
Each training includes six general session topics and the opportunity to register for one of three available training tracks. There is a special focus on how to improve your surveillance systems and strengthen your lead poisoning prevention programs. You will also learn about cost-effective, evidence-based housing interventions that will improve health outcomes in your communities.
Reviews of recently-published research and guidelines will help you set your own goals for improving your own practice. This continuing nursing educational activity will provide 20.75 contact hours and was approved by the Ohio Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation (OBN-001-97). It has also been approved for 20.75 contact hours by the National Environmental Health Association for continuing education credits for sanitarians. These have been approved for the March training and are expected to be approved for the May training.

In order to attend this training and to learn more about contact hours, please contact Solutions' Laura Titus at ltitus@healthyhousingsolutions.com or by phone at 443.539.4161 and submit a registration request. Ms. Titus will then seek approval from a CDC representative. Once approval is confirmed, Ms. Titus will send you a link to the registration page. There is no fee to attend.

NOTE: This training is limited and NOT open to federal employees.

Friday, February 24, 2017

New England Residents Voice Concern over $1 Million EPA Stormwater Permits


Communities across New England are concerned over
EPA stormwater regulations that could cost millions.


Earlier this month, New England communities countered stormwater permits issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The permit stands to affect cities in EPA Region 1- New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine. Municipal officials in all states call the permits burdensome and expensive as cities throughout the region prepare for potential costs of more than $1 million each year if the permits are enforced.

The MS4 stormwater permits, which regulate how stormwater is handled in some EPA Region 1 cities, were proposed by the EPA to ensure the long-term health of the region's waterways. Old, eroding stormwater systems are a major source of water pollution according to the EPA.

Still, communities have lobbied against the new permits. One grievance is cost - cities found in non-compliance will have to increase their stormwater budget to potentially $1 million a year for renovations. Some city officials in Massachusetts have considered covering the costs through an annual fee of about $74 for single-family homes.

"I wish we could avoid this. I wish we could absorb it, but the general fund just can't handle the $1.4 million," Dracut, Massachusetts Town Manager Jim Duggan said in a recent press release.

The implementation of the permits remain uncertain. Although issued on January 18, many city officials report receiving no official notification of the change. According to Dover, Massachusetts City Manager Michael Joyal, the regulations are not the federal register - meaning that they aren't official. However, there has been a moratorium on new regulations issued by the EPA since the change of office earlier this year- the only thing certain is uncertainty.

To learn more about EPA Region 1 MS4 Stormwater Permit, visit their website. To learn more about stormwater management training, visit Zack Academy's website.

Friday, February 17, 2017

OSHA Issues Fall Protection Updates, Walking-Working Surface Updates

OSHA's final ruling on Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Systems
updates ladder safety, Competent and Qualified Persons responsibilities,
and more.

Last November, OSHA issued a final ruling on Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Systems. The new regulations zero in on the Fall Protection Program and include updates to the responsibilities of Qualified and Competent persons. Here is a list of some of the regulations most pertinent to workers:

Deadlines:
  • Workers exposed to fall hazards or who use fall protection equipment must receive Fall Protection training by May 2017. 
  • Permanent building anchorages must be inspected and certified by the end of this year. 
  • Existing fixed ladders over 24 feet must have fall protection installed by the end of next year. 
Roof Work Fall Protection Updates:
  • All job sites with construction work above 6 feet require fall protection. 
  • All work at less than 6 feet from the edge of an unprotected roof regardless of height requirements a conventional means of protection. 
  • A warning line is required at 6 feet from an unprotected edge to warn workers.
Ladders, Stairs and Guardrail Updates: 
  • Fall protection on existing fixed ladders greater than 24 feet will be required by 2018. 
  • Ladder safety systems or personal fall arrest systems are required on new fixed ladders greater than 24 feet. 
  • All fixed ladders greater than 24 feet must have ladder safety systems by 2036. 
  • Guardrails for both general industry and construction work require a height of 42 inches and openings cannot be greater than 19 inches. 
  • Chains are no longer allowed to close access openings.
Competent and Qualified Persons Updates: 
  • Repairs to structural integrity of walking-working surfaces must be done by Qualified Persons 
  • Training of workers must be done by Qualified Persons- previously, Competent Persons were permitted to train workers 
  • Knot inspections on lifelines must be done by Qualified Persons

View Online Training for Fall Protection - Competent Person


Job site Assessment Updates:
Assessment of fall hazards on job sites is now a requirement. Employers must:
  • Determine whether hazards are present 
  • Communicate to employees if hazards are present and select appropriate personal protective equipment for employees to ensure proper fit 
  • Coordinate with entities to assess hazards for multi-employer sites 
  • Document the completion of assessments
As always, OSHA reiterates that workers must receive safety training before they begin hazardous tasks and before they use fall-protection. Understanding these regulations are critical in remaining compliant- and protecting the safety workers.

To learn more about fall protection program and other OSHA training courses, visit Zack Academy's website. To read the ruling in full, visit OSHA's publication.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Denver Firms to Pay Over $37,000 in Fines for Lead Safety Violations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - (Denver, Colo. -- February 14, 2017) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced settlements with two Denver-area contractors as part of an ongoing initiative to protect residents of northeast Denver communities from toxic lead paint hazards during home renovations.

According to the first settlement, Solid Ground Homes, LLC has agreed to pay a penalty of $18,000 to resolve allegations the firm performed a renovation on a pre-1978 home in northeast Denver without being EPA lead-safe certified and without performing several lead-safe work practices required by the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule). These requirements prevent and minimize the release of lead-contaminated dust and debris.

The second settlement alleges that Lime Painting, LLC performed exterior paint removal on a pre-1978 home in northeast Denver using prohibited power sanding and grinding operations without being an EPA lead-safe certified firm and without following lead-safe work practices. The firm has agreed to a penalty of $19,950 to settle the alleged violations. Both Solid Ground Homes and Lime Painting have since secured lead-safe firm certification.

Despite its ban from use in 1978, EPA estimates that lead-based paint is still present in more than 30 million homes in the U.S. When lead paint is disturbed during home renovations, proper work practices prevent toxic lead exposure to the home’s occupants. Infants, children, and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can, even at low levels, cause lifelong impacts such as developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems.

The RRP Rule protects the public from toxic lead hazards created by renovation activities involving lead-based paint and requires the certification of individuals and firms involved in these activities. Contractors working on homes built prior to 1978 must test for lead in paint, or presume lead is present, and apply applicable lead-safe work practices to minimize the risk of exposure to lead.

EPA’s public outreach, compliance assistance, and enforcement activity is intended to increase awareness of RRP rule requirements among both contractors and residents and create a strong deterrent for violators of the rule. Since the launch of the northeast Denver initiative in 2015, EPA has conducted outreach activities and inspected dozens of jobsites in the Five Points, Cole, Clayton, Whittier, Skyland and Park Hill neighborhoods. In addition to the settlements announced today, EPA has also issued more than 15 Notices of Noncompliance to contractors based on inspections of individual jobsites. The agency will continue to evaluate compliance associated with these inspections and pursue enforcement action when appropriate.

For more information on lead training and EPA compliance, visit Zack Academy's lead homepage.

Contact information:
Kristin Jendrek
303-312-6654
jendrek.kristin@epa.gov

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Washington State Department of Labor Fines Contractor $203K for Fall Hazards

WA Contractor Fined $203,420 for unsafe working conditions
According to ConstructionDIVE, Washington State Department of Labor has fined J & I Construction $203,420 for 13 violations. The company faces three willful violations for a lack of suitable fall protection for employees working on a 20-foot-tall wall. It was also fined for three repeat serious violations for the absence of a fall-hazard plan, with workers vulnerable to wall openings and improper ladder use. Smaller violations include a lack of stair railings, the absence of safety springs on nail guns, allowing employees to work without hard hats, and not having a person on site possessing a valid first aid credential.

Zack Academy offers a wide range of OSHA/Construction/Safety training, including Fall Protection - Competent Person, OSHA 10-Hour Construction Industry, OSHA 30-Hour Construction Industry, and more.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

New York City's New Construction Superintendent Rule

New York City's Department of Buildings reminds construction workers of the 
revised Construction Superintendent Rule - complete with penalties
for those in violation.

This Monday, New York City's Department of Buildings sent an industry-wide reminder of the recently revised Construction Superintendent Rule. The reminder specifies the responsibilities of Construction Superintendents, and the penalties of violations against the rule.

As per 1 RCNY §3301-02 of the New York City Building Code, the Department reminds Construction Superintendents that:
  1. Registered Construction Superintendents (CS) still cannot be designated on more than 10 jobs. Please see the related Service Notice for how to ensure compliance.
  2. Site Safety Managers and Site Safety Coordinators cannot sign up for jobs that require a Registered Construction Superintendent.
  3. Primary Registered Construction Superintendents must visit all jobs on which they are designated on a daily basis. Exceptions are specified by the Rule.
  4. Registered Construction Superintendents must keep a complete and detailed log of their daily activities.
  5. Registered Construction Superintendents have several required duties, including maintaining a safe construction site, ensuring compliance with approved plans, and correcting unsafe conditions.
Registered Construction Superintendents must designate a competent person in writing (in their daily log) to oversee the construction site at all times active work occurs. The Department of Buildings also disclosed that they intend to enforce compliance with random site visits. If Construction Superintendents do not fulfill their defined responsibilities, they risk revocation of their permits. Furthermore, Construction Superintendents designated on more than 10 jobs risk having all permits revoke with a full Stop Work Order issued- and fines of up to $25,000.

For more information on New York City's Building Code, visit their website. For more information on construction training courses, visit Zack Academy's website - we offer Site Safety Coordinator and Site Safety Manager courses.

Monday, February 13, 2017

California Workers Exposed to High Levels of Lead

A report shows that among industrial workers, males between
the ages of 20-59 have the highest blood lead levels.

A recent report from California's Department of Public Health - Occupational Health Branch showed concerning trends in lead work. According to the study, more than 6,000 industry workers presented with elevated blood lead levels.

The threshold for elevated blood lead levels is defined as more than than 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (µg/dL). Exposure at levels higher than 5 µg/dL has been linked to high blood pressure, kidney disease, reproductive dysfunction, cognitive impairment, and even death. Because lead exposure is accumulative, even small levels of exposure over time can cause adverse health outcomes.

In addition to identifying industrial workers with disproportionately high blood levels, the report found that the majority of those affected were male, 20-59 years of age, and had possible Hispanic heritage. The report also found blood levels of 40 µg/dL and higher in firearm industry (shooting ranges, gun ammunition manufacturing, security training) and construction workers.

The findings are a significant reminder of the importance of worker safety in industrial industries. The report cites that many employers fail to provide blood lead level testing to their lead-exposed workers; for example, only 56% of lead-using non-ferrous foundries regularly test their employees for lead.

As a result of this report, California's Department of Public Health is providing free blood lead testing to workers who do not receive it from their employers nor have access through health insurance. Since the report's publication, 160 workers have received free testing.

The best way to prevent elevated blood lead levels to is to limit exposure in the first place. To read the entire report, visit the California Department of Public Health's publication. To learn more about EPA lead certification and lead safety, visit Zack Academy's lead homepage.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Zack Academy Partners with EnviTrain, LLC to Offer Lead Paint and OSHA Training in Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fort Lauderdale, FL (February 7, 2017) - Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a national provider of certification and training courses, announced today that it has partnered with EnviTrain, LLC to expand its lead paint and OSHA construction training schedule.

Based in Delray Beach, Florida, EnviTrain, LLC offers accredited lead paint and OSHA construction training throughout the states of Florida and Connecticut. The company’s next Lead Renovator Certification Initial training courses are offered February 15th in Wallingford, CT and February 22nd in Stuart, Florida.

"This partnership with EnviTrain, LLC helps to further expand our southeast presence in the environmental health and safety community and adds another exemplary trainer to the Zack Academy Network. We hope to offer many more classes together in the near future," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

About EnviTrain, LLC:
EnviTrain, LLC provides work safety training & consulting throughout Florida and Connecticut. We tailor training based on the needs of our clients by offering on-site training at your location, the option to join one of our scheduled courses and online training. EnviTrain, LLC is an EPA accredited provider of the 8 Hour Initial Lead Renovator Certification and 4 Hour Refresher Lead Renovator Certification. We offer the Refresher Lead Renovator Certification 100% online through our user-friendly Learning Management System. EnviTrain, LLC is an OSHA Authorized Training Provider of 10 & 30 Hour Construction Industry Training and is now providing online and scheduled Crystalline Silica Training for contractors to stay in compliance with OSHA’s Final Rule.

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:
Peter Sfraga
Marketing Manager
646-564-3792

Thursday, February 2, 2017

HUD Issued Guidance Setting New Dust Lead Action Levels and Clearance Levels for Its Grantees.

Source: Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency
The HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) issued guidance yesterday setting new dust lead action levels and clearance levels for its grantees. The guidance sets action levels of 10 ug/ft2 for floors and 100 ug/ft2 for windows sills. The same levels will serve as clearance levels on these surfaces. In addition, the guidance sets clearance levels of 100 ug/ft2 for window troughs and 40ug/ft2 for porch floors. These levels are effective April 1, 2017.

This new guidance now means clearance levels for porch floors have been established for the first time. Using research sponsored by HUD and conducted by National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) in partnership with the City of Rochester, NY, OLHCHH determined that porch floors can be both a direct exposure source for children and a source of lead dust that can be tracked into the home. In addition to setting a clearance level of 40 ug/ft2 on porches, HUD encourages its grantees to try to attain a level below 10ug/ft2.

Hopefully HUD's plans will lead to non-grantees voluntarily using these action levels. While this is a major positive for lead poisoning prevention, it is still a small step to limiting lead poisoning in a country with 3,000 cities with double the lead levels of Flint, Michigan. Please visit Zack Academy to learn more about lead paint certification training.

Zack Academy Partners with EGM Pool Management to Offer Certified Pool Operator (CPO) Training

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fort Lauderdale, FL (February 2, 2017) -
Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a national provider of certification and training courses, announced today that it has partnered with EGM Pool Management to expand its rapidly growing pool management category.

Based in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, EGM Pool Management offers Certified Pool Operator (CPO) Training throughout the northeastern United States in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The course teaches individuals the basic knowledge and skills needed for pool and spa operations and is required in 25 states and several local jurisdictions.

"This partnership with EGM Pool Management helps to build out our quickly growing pool management category. We are excited to add another industry-leading trainer to the Zack Academy Network and we look forward to mutual continued growth in the pool and spa industry," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

Zack Academy’s CPO training covers public bathing codes, water chemistry, filtration and circulation, seasonal pool care, pool management strategies and requirements, energy management, calculations and testing pool water and making adjustments, maintenance and operational problems, renovating and modernization of pool facilities, and disease and accident prevention.

About EGM Pool Management: 
EGM Pool Management is an industry leader in proper pool management and the teaching of the Certified Pool Operator course. EGM Pool Management is certified to teach the CPO course in all 50 United States Of America, Puerto Rico, Canada, and the U.S. Virgin Islands through the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF).

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:
Peter Sfraga
Marketing Manager
646-564-3792

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Landmark $80M Asbestos Settlement Reached in Kansas City


An $80 million settlement was reached more than thirty years after government
workers were exposed to asbestos during a building renovation.


An $80 million settlement was finalized in an Kansas City asbestos class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit- led by two former county employees alleged that workers were exposed to asbestos during the renovation of the county courthouse thirty years ago.

The settlement launched the largest medical monitoring found in Missouri, which now serves to provide health screenings to former employees, jurors, attorneys and inmates who may have been exposed to the deadly asbestos fibers. The asbestos firm named in the lawsuit, U.S Engineering, agreed to settle last October, prior to the opening trial date.

Former county employees Jeanne Morgan and David Elsea led the case after their co-worker Nancy Lopez died of mesothelioma in 2010 at age 56. This specific cancer is correlated with asbestos exposure, and usually claims victims a year after diagnosis. Morgan testified that while working there between 1983 and 1985, U.S Engineering did not take proper asbestos precautions while renovating the Jackson County courthouse. Court records report that workers tracked asbestos insulation throughout the building while cutting through old pipes, hauling it down the elevator and dumping it in the building's dumpster.

"The particles would be... all over the papers," Jeanne Morgan, former county employee, said in court hearing.

Other witnesses testify that the workers didn't use masks and didn't post warning signs for employees. A former executive of the asbestos firm testified against his employees, confirming that the company failed to prevent asbestos contamination of the building.

Some 7,500 others may also be affected by the unsafe renovation; the state of Missouri contends it would be less costly to provide preventative health screenings than waiting for asbestos-related illnesses to present themselves.

The beneficiaries are split into two groups: those who can prove they were in the courthouse for at least 80 hours during the renovation, and those who can prove they were in the courthouse for at least 80 hours in a year between 1986 and 2007. The former group is eligible for annual medical exams and the latter group is eligible for one free screening every five years.

As it stands, this settlement will help thousands of potential victims and hopefully serve as a dissuasion against further faulty asbestos renovations.

For more information about asbestos legal options, visit The Mesothelioma Center's homepage. For more information about asbestos certification, visit Zack Academy's asbestos homepage.