Wednesday, August 30, 2017

OSHA Final Rule on Silica to Go into Effect this Fall

Delayed from June, OSHA's new standard for respirable crystalline silica
in construction is effective this September. 

Later this September, OSHA's final ruling on respirable crystalline silica in construction will go into effect. Among other provisions, the final rule will reduce the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline over work shifts and health screenings to monitor highly exposed workers. Silica exposure is known to cause lung cancer, silicosis and other chronic lung diseases.

For employers, enforcement of the final ruling means that employers will be required to train and inform their employees about respirable crystalline silica hazards and the protections the employer uses to limit worker exposure.

Employers must ensure their employees are informed on the following topics:
  • Health hazards associated with respirable crystalline silica exposure 
  • Specific workplace tasks that could expose employees to respirable crystalline silica- including work practices and tools 
  • Specific measures the employer has implemented to protect employees from respirable crystalline exposure - including engineering controls, work practices and respirators 
  • The contents of OSHA's final ruling on respirable crystalline silica 
  • The identity and role of the competent person on the job site 
  • The purpose and function of the medical exam program introduced with the new standard. 
For employees, enforcement of the final ruling means that they must be cognizant of their rights and responsibilities as workers. Employees are expected to seek additional guidance if they feel uncertain with any tasks.

As per the ruling, employers are required to train their employees at the time they are assigned to a position involving exposure to respirable crystalline silica. Employers must also provide additional training as necessary - such as when employers introduce new personal protection equipment.

There is no official method for providing training; there are only official training topic requirements. Employers are free to use videotapes, slideshows or other forms of instruction to train employees. However, training must cover all specific OSHA topics in detail. Failure to properly instruct employees - determined by a lack of training or employees displaying a lack of knowledge - can result in a firm being found noncompliant.

OSHA's final ruling on respirable crystalline silica in construction takes effect September 23, 2017. Deadlines for other industries such as maritime or engineering are expected to take place next year.

To read the final rule, visit OSHA's online publication. To learn more about silica hazard awareness courses, visit Zack Academy.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Lead RRP Quiz One Answers

About two weeks ago we posted an RRP Quiz for readers - below is the answers and brief reasoning! Please be sure to follow for future quizzes.

1. Lead paint testing is required under the EPA's RRP Rule before beginning work on a pre-1978 house.
  1. True 
  2. False 
B. A firm may always assume the presence of lead-based paint and proceed in accordance with all RRP requirements.

2. Lead exposure causes what common medical issues in children?
  1. Lowered IQ
  2. Damage to the brain and nervous system
  3. Learning and behavioral difficulties
  4. Slowed growth
  5. All the above
E. Sure, all the above is always the answer! But, seriously, lead paint can lead to a litany of medical issues, especially with young children. It's important to remember there is a legitimate reason for the EPA's lead rules, even if they seem tedious and costly.

3. How long after my RRP project can the EPA audit my records?
  1. 6 months
  2. 1 year
  3. 2 years
  4. 3 years
  5. 5 years
D. Generally, the EPA does not catch contractors on the job violating the RRP rule - there are just too many contractors and not enough EPA investigators. Instead, the EPA usually finds violations in contractor records, so it's vital to keep pristine records for at least 3 years after the project completion. Our Lead-Safe RRP Project Binder can definitely help with that.

4. When testing a work area, does one spot-test kit or paint chip sample suffice for any single component?
  1. Yes
  2. No
A. The certified renovator is only required to use one spot test kit or paint chip sample for each component, even if the surface of the component is extensive (e.g., a large wall).

5. True or False: To comply with the RRP Rule, a Sole Proprietor does NOT need to apply for the EPA Lead-Safe Firm Certification in addition to attending the 1-day Renovator training class.
  1. True
  2. False
B. Even if you are a sole proprietor you must complete Lead Renovator Initial Training AND obtain your EPA Lead-Safe Firm Certification.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Environmental Defense Fund Recognizes Communities Replacing Lead Service Lines

Fourteen U.S. communities were recognized by the Environmental Defense Fund
for taking steps to remove lead service lines. Lead service lines can leak
lead and contaminate drinking water.

Last week, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) published a webpage recognizing communities across the U.S. that are reducing lead in drinking water by replacing lead pipes in their water systems.

The webpage recognizes 14 communities in seven states that have pledged to remove all lead service lines. Over time, old lead service lines can leak lead into drinking water. Lead exposure has been linked to behavioral and cognitive impairments as well as blood and bone illnesses. Because lead exposure is accumulative, the greatest health risk is posed to growing children as their development can be impaired by lead exposure.

Lead service lines became a topic of national concern when it was revealed as the source of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan; insufficient water treatment and deteriorating lead service lines contaminated the community's drinking water. To date, many households still have uncertain access to clean drinking water.

"Everyone can agree that lead in drinking water is harmful to our kids. Lead service lines are likely the greatest source of that lead. But lead water pipes still serve millions of American homes," Tom Neltner, EDF Health's Chemicals Policy Director, said in a recent press release.

The recognized communities have all made progress in at least one of EDF's criteria: Avoiding partial LSL replacement in favor of total replacement; providing economical and equitable replacement options for homeowners; developing a robust, public inventor; and providing guidance to assist property owners. One community, Quincy, MA, seeks to provide pipe replacements at no cost homeowners.

"Replacing lead service lines requires a broad societal commitment and a spirit of collaboration among utilities, property owners, public officials, philanthropists and many other partners. Communities that develop a vision for the ultimate removal of lead service lines are taking an important step in protecting households from lead in drinking water," David LaFrance, CEO of the American Water Works Association, said in a recent press release.

The 14 communities noted by the EDF for their public commitment to replacing all lead service lines in their area include:
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Denver, CO
  • Detroit, MI
  • Eau Claire, WI

In addition, EDF noted an additional 19 communities who have taken steps toward removing lead service lines in their jurisdiction but have not yet set a goal.

To see all of the communities that have pledged to remove lead service lines, visit EDF's webpage. To learn more about lead and get involved in this industry, visit Zack Academy's lead homepage.

Toledo Announces Extension of Lead-Safe Deadline

Toledo announces an extension of its new lead-safe ordinance after a slow start
to inspection and remediation of lead hazards. 

In Toledo, Ohio, a new lead paint ordinance has been met with resistance by city officials. The ordinance, passed last year, required all buildings constructed before 1978 with one to four rental units to be lead-safe certified by September 2017. Yet as a result of bureaucratic pushback, many buildings are out of compliance and city officials have extended deadlines.

Enforcement of Toledo's lead law has been off to a slow start. As of July 28, 2017, Toledo-Lucas County Health Department reports that 234 out of 50,000 buildings affected by the lead ordinance have registered and passed the required lead inspection. The new deadline for lead-safe certification compliance is now June 30, 2018, with deadlines for buildings deemed less imminently dangerous set for 2019 and 2020.

Properties that pass the inspection will receive either a one, three, or six-year certificate. One-year certificates are given to Section-8 housing, which must be annually tested for lead by law. Three-year certifications are given to properties that previously failed a lead inspection. Six-year certificates are given to properties that passed on the first try.

City officials hope the deadline extensions and flexible certification will encourage landlords to comply with the ordinance.

"The change to the amendment is positive. Now you have three different time frames available, so it's a good way to stretch this out and to try to get all of the property owners within a ear is just a lot of work to be done. It not only helps us but provides landlords with multiple properties more time to get everything done," David Welch, Toledo Director of Environmental Health and Community Services, said in a recent press release.

Since last September, the ordinance has caused a divide between city officials. Critic say that the new law is expensive and unfairly targets small property landlords; defenders say that the ordinance protects the city's most vulnerable from lead poisoning.

The biggest opposition to the ordinance came from Rep. Dereck Merrin (R-Monclova) of the Ohio House of Representatives. Rep. Merrin attempted to add an amendment to a state budget that would nullify the lead ordinance. This amendment was denied by the Ohio Senate.

According to Rep. Merrin, Toledo's lead ordinance unfairly targets small property owners, who might struggle to cover the costs of lead inspection and registration fees.

"Toledo's law is intellectually inconsistent and undercuts its own premise by seeking to protect only a select group of children," Rep. Dereck Merrin wrote in an op-ed recently.

Other city officials argue that the ordinance specifies small, older units because that's simply where the bulk of the lead is.

"Toledo is a leader in the state in creating a new law to prevent lead poisoning in the city, and is working toward lead safe homes for all of our children," Paula Hicks-Hudson, Mayor of Toledo, said in a recent press release.

This year, Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated $2.9 million to Toledo for lead hazard-related improvements; more lead inspections and abatements are expected to take place in the city this year.

To learn more about Toledo's lead ordinance, visit Toledo's official website. To learn more about lead inspection and how you can get involved in this dynamic field, visit Zack Academy.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Lead RRP Quiz One


Please note, answers will be released on completion of the quiz!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Largest Lead Cleanup in California to Begin Among Long Legal Battle

Los Angeles will begin to remove lead contamination from homes
near the former battery plant, Exide. The project has had many
stalls from lengthy litigation between the state, city and Exide.
Source: Southern California Public Radio

This fall, California's Department of Toxic Substances (CDTS) will begin removing lead-contaminated soil from 2,500 residential properties in Los Angeles. The lead cleanup is the largest in California history and spans seven neighborhoods - yet the state has refused to release details about the contamination, outraging city officials and community members alike.

Exide Technologies shut down two years ago after facing federal criminal charges for illegal lead emissions. The emissions have threatened the health of about 10,000 properties in seven communities: Bell, Boyle Heights, Commerce, East Los Angeles, Huntington Park, Maywood and Vernon. Of these affected properties, only 2,500 residences with the highest lead risks were selected for cleanup. Officials have yet to select a contractor, but estimate that removal will begin this fall.

This leaves more than 7,000 residences without a lead cleanup plan.

"They're not forgotten, they're just not in this phase of cleanup," Mohsen Nazemi, deputy director of CDTS, said in a recent press release.

According to CDTS, the state currently has enough funding to remediate 2,500 of the 10,000 affected residences. The state has spent $42 million in taxpayer money to test and clean; Exide has paid $9 million as part of their legal settlement. Exide is expected to make additional payments in the future, but the state expects a lengthy litigation; last year, Exide filed a lawsuit alleging that the high lead levels could be from lead paint or vehicle emissions.

CDTS has not released much information regarding affected properties. CDTS tested more than 7,000 of the 10,000 residences surrounding the former plant; they found 98% showed lead levels exceeding 80 parts per million. Still, the department has not released the exact locations of these properties.

The state contends that disclosing such information would compromise residents' privacy, but many residents would prefer more transparency with the project.

"Years go by and we're not getting the information. We don't even know what houses they're cleaning. So it's not transparent," Teresa Marquez, president of Mothers of East Los Angeles, said in a recent press release.

So far, the state has spent $42 million to test residences around the former plant and remove lead from 2,500 residences. Exide has paid $9 million as part of their settlement. Exide is expected to make additional payments in the future, but not without a fight; last year, the company filed a lawsuit alleging the elevated lead levels could have come from vehicle emissions or lead paint in homes. The protracted legal cases have caused many standstills with remediation since the lead was discovered.

For the affected residences that missed the first cut, city officials intend to send informational pamphlets on how to minimize their exposure and what they can do to seek remediation on their own. For many residents, private lead removal is unaffordable; about 30% of affected residents are living in poverty.

"I find it really irresponsible to tell the public that we don't know if we're going to take care of you. I have constituents that are panicked that they're going to be left behind," Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) said in a recent press release.

City officials and community members are brainstorming ideas for funding. Some suggest that using revenue from new fees that lawmakers imposed on the sale of lead-acid batteries - in the aftermath of Exide - to fund the cleanup.

The state is expected to give more updates on the project as it nears its start date.

To get the latest information about the Los Angeles Exide cleanup, visit the city's website. To learn more about lead abatement, visit Zack Academy's lead homepage.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

EPA Compliance Series Part 2: Paperwork for RRP Job Site

This is the second installment of our RRP Compliance Series, as we take an in-depth look at the most important parts of performing of a lead-safe renovation job in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Renovation Repair & Painting (RRP) Rule.

Realistically, it is difficult for the EPA to catch a Renovation Firm in the act of being non-compliant, considering most renovations, repairs, and painting projects do not last longer than a couple days, if that. What is not difficult for the EPA, however, is auditing renovation firms for their paperwork. Keep in mind, every time you complete a renovation project under the RRP Rule, you must keep the required records for 3 years.

As we cover in our lead-safe renovator training courses, here are the six documents needed for every RRP project:

1. Your Certificates - Individual and Firm: If you haven't filed your company (firm) with the EPA, but yet you are still working in pre-1978 residential homes, you are breaking the RRP Rule and are considered to be non-compliant, which carries a maximum fine of $37,500 per violation, per day! You can process and apply for your firm application online. Keep in mind, the EPA asks that you give them 90 days to process your firm application, but it has been taking much less time recently, according to our past students.

2. Renovate Right Pamphlet:
Handing out the EPA's pre-renovation education pamphlet is one of your main responsibilities as an EPA Lead Renovator. The purpose of this pamphlet is to educate your client about the potential risks that arise when a disturbance of lead-paint is created through renovations, repairs, or prep-work for painting. You can find this pamphlet many places, like Zack Academy's online store, in your RRP manual in Appendix #3, or from the EPA's website.

3. Proof of Renovate Right Pamphlet Receipt: Now that you handed out the Renovate Right pamphlet prior to beginning your RRP Project, maintain this proof with either your customer's signature or by sending the pamphlet by certified mail. Also, if you purchase the pamphlets from our store, we include carbon copy disclosure forms that the tenant can sign. You can review the ins-and-outs of this process in Module #3 of your manual, but in regards to when the Renovate Right pamphlet should be handed out, there are three time-frames that you must know:
  1. Do not hand out the pamphlet more than 60 days before beginning the renovation 
  2. You may distribute the pamphlet by certified mail, as long as you do not mail it less than 7 days before beginning the renovation 
  3. You must distribute the Renovate Right pamphlet at least 24 hours before the job begins, and if you miss the 7 day window with certified mail, you must obtain the owner’s written acknowledgement when you physically hand it to them 
EPA's Sample Pre-Renovation Form Confirmation of Receipt of Pamphlet.

4. Test Kit Results: If you are working in a pre-1978 residential home, the EPA wants you to show proof that you ran a test for lead-based paint prior to beginning your work. Your other option is to presume that lead-based paint is present and to use Lead Safe Work Practices based on the age of the home. You can find the Test Kit Results forms in Appendix #6 of your RRP manual.

5. Training Non-Certified Workers: There needs to be at least one EPA Certified Renovator on each RRP Project, and that person can provide on-the-job training to the other workers. The Steps Guide, which you will use to train these workers, can be found in Appendix #5 of your manual. The Non-Certified Worker training documents you will fill out after this training can be found in Appendix # 6. You can also review all of the RRP Hands-On Activities so you are up to speed with lead-safe work practices, which is essential to being compliant with the RRP Rule.

6. Post-Renovation Report (Record-Keeping Checklist): When your RRP Project is completed, you need to fill out this Post-Renovation Report which sums up exactly what you did during your renovation work. This form can be found in Module #6 of your RRP manual, or on the EPA website here. Please note, the last thing that you will check off before you sign this post-renovation document is this: I certify under penalty of law that the above information is true and complete, so make sure your RRP documentation is!

Zack Academy also offers a Lead-Safe RRP Project Binder, which will help you navigate the EPA's record-keeping requirements for your pre-1978 renovation or painting projects.

If you have any further questions about the required documentation for RRP Projects, you can call our office at 1-954-400-0595, and we will be glad to assist you!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

New York City Housing Authority Falsified Lead Inspection Documents

New York City Housing Authority fell behind on lead testing
their 328 public housing properties and put thousands
at risk for lead poisoning.

An ongoing investigation has discovered that New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) falsely verified lead inspections of thousands of apartments.

The investigation centers around NYCHA falsifying reports to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and confirming inspections of its 328 public housing properties. NYCHA is required to annually test properties suspected of containing lead paint; however, New York City Department of Investigation found that through 2012 and 2014, NYCHA only inspected these apartments every other year.

Lead paint exposure is known to cause cognitive, cardiovascular and nervous damage. The poisoning is cumulative - which is why reducing exposure in children is an even greater concern.

Subpoenaed documents and interviews with NYCHA employees dated to October 2015 suggest there are 4,702 likely contaminated apartments with children younger than 6 years old.

"Our continued cooperation with New York City has led us to review our compliance functions with regard to lead-based paint requirements. Our conclusion is that we have not been compliant with certain aspects of the lead-based paint certification and that is just simply not acceptable," Shola Olatoye, NYCHA Chairwoman, said in a recent press release.

According to NYCHA, the authority switched to a biannual inspection schedule in light of a massive work-order backlog and funding deficit. This internal decision put NYCHA out of compliance with federal regulations.

The investigation is still pending, but NYCHA Chairwoman Olatoye launched comprehensive re-inspection of at-risk properties - providing few details and no cost estimates, much to the consternation of New York City Controller Scott Stringer.

“As you know, exposure to elevated levels of lead can be extremely detrimental, particularly to the health and welfare of young children. That makes the admission of NYCHA’s failure to comply with regulations all the more disturbing,” Stringer said in a recent press release.

In hopes of remedying the funding issue, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recommended selling a portion of NYCHA’s properties for private development.

As it stands, thousands of families may be at risk of lead poisoning due to the oversight. A final report by the city Department of Investigation is expected some time later this month.

To learn more about lead poisoning, visit the EPA website. To learn more about lead inspection, visit Zack Academy’s lead homepage.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Zack Academy Partners with License Preparation Institute to Offer Lead Paint RRP Training in Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fort Lauderdale, FL (August 08, 2017)
- Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a national provider of certification and training courses, announced today that it has partnered with License Preparation Institute to expand its lead RRP classes in Michigan.

Based in Ypsilanti, MI, License Preparation Institute (LPI) offers initial and refresher lead paint Lead Renovator RRP training in Ann Arbor, Michigan. LPI is also certified to offer blended learning courses for Lead Renovator Initial and Lead Renovator Refresher, where students can complete a majority of the program online at home, and then finish the last few hours and certification exam in-person at their facility after work! The company’s next Online Lead Renovator RRP Initial With Local Exam class on August 11th consists of an online lecture and in-person hands on activities / final certification exam at their facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

"We are excited to welcome License Preparation Institute to the Zack Academy Network as our newest Lead RRP trainer. License Preparation Institute is the first member of the Zack Academy Network that offers online Lead RRP training in with a local exam in Michigan, so we look forward to making the training process simpler for students in that region!" said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

About License Preparation Institute:
License Preparation Institute is an EPA accredited training provider for the Lead RRP Initial Certificate (8 Hours Classroom Training or 2.5 Hours Hands on Activities with Online Lectures) and Lead RRP Refresher Certificate (100% Online or 1.2 Hours Hands On Activities with Online Lectures). Our focus is on the online training, which save time, money and is convenient. We are dedicated to providing high quality, interactive, content-rich online training in a user-friendly format.

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

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Zack Academy Partners with Hazard Management Services, Inc. to Offer Asbestos and Lead Paint Training in California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fort Lauderdale, FL (August 1, 2017)
- Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a national provider of certification and training courses, announced today that it has partnered with Hazard Management Services, Inc. to expand its asbestos and lead paint classes.

Based in Modesto, CA, Hazard Management Services, Inc. offers asbestos and lead paint training, including: Asbestos Inspector, Asbestos Supervisor, Lead Inspector, Lead Risk Assessor and more. The company’s next Asbestos Supervisor Refresher class on August 3rd in Fresno, CA recertifies individuals to supervise and direct asbestos workers performing abatement activities.

"We are excited to welcome Hazard Management Services, Inc. to the Zack Academy Network and bolster our asbestos and lead paint training options in Northern California. Hazard Management Services, Inc. brings 33 years of environmental health and safety training experience and will further help us reach our goal to properly and safely train all asbestos and lead professionals," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

About Hazard Management Services, Inc.:
Hazard Management Services, Inc. has helped construction managers, building owners, facilities managers, architects, contractors and consultants handle hazardous materials safely AND legally (two different issues) since 1984. Our training division employs instructors from several different firms, most with more than 25 years of hazardous materials experience. All instructors are active consultants, contractors, or EH&S personnel. Many were actively involved in developing the original curriculum for UC Berkeley’s highly respected asbestos and lead training program in the late 1980s, and in revising and generating local, state, and federal environmental regulations during the past four decades.

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