Friday, December 14, 2018

California Mandates Solar Power in New Homes

california sun
California announced a new mandate that requires
all homes built after 2019 to be solar powered.

Last week, California became the first state in the nation to require homes built after 2019 to be solar powered. The new provisions finalize a previous vote from the California Energy Commission and brings the state closer to its goal to make clean energy more accessible.

The rule applies to all newly built single-family homes and multifamily homes of three stories or fewer. Although the vote was passed unanimously, the commission received about 300 letters from California citizens opposing the mandate.

Most of the opposition came from concerns about the cost to homeowners. Although energy officials estimate that the new mandate will add $10,000 to the cost of building a single-family home, homeowners would see savings from their lower utility bills. Homeowners could expect savings of up to $500 a year with solar panels.

Another concern was that the mandate would make it harder for California wildfire victims to rebuild However, homeowners will have two options to eliminate the upfront cost of adding solar to their new home: leasing the solar panels or signing a power purchase agreement that pays for the electricity without buying the panels.

For contractors and developers, the mandate is a little more complicated. The task of building affordable homes that still comply with the new mandate can be challenging. However, the mandate allows for community-shared solar options, or a system that uses off-site solar farms to send energy to homes via transmission lines. These community-shared options require more in-depth planning, but could save both homeowners and developers a lot of money.

Both contractors and prospective homeowners must find a compromise before the mandate goes into effect on January 1, 2020. Still, industry experts are excited about the change as it can bring California closer to it's goal of sustainable design for all.

"Solar was always considered a luxury item in the past. Now it's going to be a necessity," Dan Spiegal, president of Santa Monica-based DMS Contractors, said in a recent press release.

To learn more about the mandate, visit the California Energy Commission website. To learn more about solar power training and how to get involved in this exciting field, visit Zack Academy.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Delaware Announces New Lead Paint Rules Early Next Year

Early next year, Delaware will debut new rules on outdoor
lead paint removal. The new rules come shortly
after residents called for stricter lead paint laws.

Last week, the state of Delaware announced the expected arrival of new rules on outdoor lead paint removal. Some time next year, Delaware contractors can expect stricter regulations on demolitions, renovations, and other projects that disturb structures containing lead paint.

The new rules come after several calls from Delaware residents for stronger regulations on outdoor lead paint removal. In 2016, locals were concerned when lead paint was removed from a water tower in Wilmington. Some residents allege that the removal team did not employ lead-safe practices.

"We're watching sandblasting projects go with no oversight," Sarah Bucic, Wilmington resident said in a recent press release.

The dangers of lead paint exposure has been widely documented. Lead exposure is known to result in neurological and reproductive abnormalities, as well as blood and bone disorders. Lead paint exposure is particularly dangerous for children as heavy metal poisoning can permanently alter childhood development. As a result, lead poisoning prevention has been a priority at both federal and regional levels across the United States.

While the regulations have yet to be finalized, DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin anticipates the rules will be in place by early next year. The new rules include a 30-day public notification period, which should increase transparency between DNREC and residents. The rule also proposes that companies removing lead paint from water towers through sandblasting must have a permit to do so. Contractors will be expected to perform their work in accordance to lead-paint safety laws.

The new outdoor lead paint removal law will join previous DNREC efforts to control lead paint exposure. DNREC already enacted a law earlier this year that banned future applications of lead paint on outdoor structures.

These new lead paint regulations could potentially save lives. To learn more about DNREC's lead paint laws, visit their website. To learn more about lead paint removal, visit Zack Academy.

The Most Underrated Cleaning and Restoration Courses

These underrated restoration classes can answer legal questions, 
explain safety requirements, and jump start 
your marketing strategies.

When you're a restoration professional, the actual remediation work is only half of your job. The other half is successfully running your restoration business. The restoration industry works adjacent to insurance companies with employees frequently handling toxic chemicals and entering dangerous work zones. This means restoration companies need to be well versed on legal and safety requirements in addition to the regular marketing expertise necessary for running a business.

Zack Academy offers many training resources for cleaning and restoration professionals. These courses are sometimes overlooked when students are entering the restoration business for the first time. However, these courses provided a wealth of information that can take your restoration business to the next level. Here are some of the most underrated cleaning and restoration courses:

Health and Safety Technician (HST):
This course helps you fulfill some of the safety requirements your restoration company may be asked to present to insurance companies or OSHA. You'll learn plenty of common safety violations and best practices, but there are three overlooked benefits of this course.

One benefit is that this course covers the written respiratory protection plan. This document is necessary for almost all types of restoration work. Without this written plan, your company could be fined by OSHA or overlooked for jobs from insurance companies. During class, the instructor will teach you step-by-step how to create a written respiratory protection plan for your company.

Additionally, students in the Health and Safety Technician (HST) course receive instruction on respirators. They can even take a "fit" testing in class if they plan to use a respirator on the job site. This test ensures that the respirator fits correctly so that it best protects the user. If you're just starting out in mold remediation, this course will save you time and money by helping you determine what kind of respirator you need and how to use it correctly.

Lastly many of the IICRC Certification Tracks to get your Master Certification require the HST training. These IICRC Journeyman and Master tracks are a great way to set yourself apart from the pack and designate your expertise in the cleaning and restoration industry.

This course gives a lot of value for its cost, so it should be on the list for any restoration professional.

Legal and Marketing Tactics:
This course teaches students how to manage and promote their restoration business. Even though this class is free, it is packed with valuable information that shouldn't be overlooked.

On the legal side, participants of this class have the opportunity to sit down with experts and get critical information on difficult legal topics of the industry. Your company can benefit from this class if you've ever asked yourself:
  • "How do I get paid for my work after my client's insurance claim has been denied?"
  • "How do I write an official service agreement?"
  • "How do I draft an assignment of benefits?"
  • "Is this legal issue outside of what I'm licensed to handle?"
On the marketing side, participants of this class will learn how to better manage their restoration business through social media marketing. If your company is new to social media marketing, you'll have the opportunity to sit down with experts and discuss ideas tailored to your company.

Usually, you'd have to pay for this type of consulting; however, this course is offered for free. If you're just starting your cleaning and restoration business, consider this resource.

Water Damage Business Marketing Strategies Online:
This course is another marketing course, but its provided completely online to accommodate busy water damage restoration professionals and goes into great depth on selling and marketing tactics to grow your business.

The main overlooked benefit of this course is that if you're brand new to marketing, you'll learn a variety of strategies. This course covers outbound cold-calling, inbound social media marketing, word-of-mouth marketing from other professionals, and organic face-to-face meetings. You'll be able to choose which strategies work best for your business and learn how to implement them. Since this class is specifically tailored for restoration businesses, you'll get useful and relevant tools that you can start using right away.

There's more to running a restoration business than just cleaning. Grow your business by growing your skill set with these underrated cleaning and restoration classes today.

To learn more about all of Zack Academy's cleaning and restoration courses, visit Zack Academy.

Friday, November 30, 2018

NYCHA Under Fire Again for Ignoring Lead Abatement Orders

nycha investigation lead abatement
A new investigation found that the New York
City Housing Authority did not just ignore lead inspections,
they also ignored lead abatement orders- putting lives at risk.

This week, a new investigation of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) uncovered another layer of misconduct that put people's lives in danger. A paper trail shows that for at least twenty years, NYCHA refused to act on hundreds of lead poisoning cases in its public housing units. The investigation also found that NYCHA challenged the New York City Health Department on 95 percent of lead abatement orders placed in the last seven years, putting hundreds of children at risk of severe lead poisoning.

This new development casts an even darker shadow on the agency, which previously made headlines for falsifying lead inspection records and failing to complete federally mandated lead testing. That investigation resulted in six top executives losing their jobs and a $2.2 billion settlement.

Now, it seems that NYCHA did not just ignore lead inspections--they ignored abatement orders, too.

The New York Times interviewed more than 100 current and former housing officials, maintenance workers, building managers health experts, lead contractors and public housing residents. The Times also reviewed thousands of court documents and paperwork between the NYCHA and the New York City Health Department. From 2010 to July of this year, NYCHA challenged  95 percent lead poisoning cases in its housing stock. For comparison, private landlords only contested 4 percent of lead abatement orders during that same time period.

According to the investigation, the Health Department used an X.R.F. analyzer to test homes for lead paint when a child was diagnosed with elevated blood-lead levels. For children living in NYCHA housing, these findings would be challenged when NYCHA sent its own inspectors to the residence. NYCHA lead inspectors used the paint-chip method for its testing.

The accuracy of the paint-chip method has been critiqued by experts, including NYCHA itself. "A false negative can result," Brian Clarke, former NYCHA coordinator, said in a 1999 affidavit.

When NYCHA challenged the Health Department, the Health Department would often reverse its work orders. A spokesman from the New York City Health Department said that the orders were rescinded because the Department was convinced the initial test was a false positive. This feedback loop reinforced NYCHA.

"The authority believed its approach was valid because the Health Department so often rescinded its orders," Stanley Brezenoff, interim NYCHA chairman, said in a recent press release.

By challenging the findings of the Health Department, NYCHA ultimately completed few of these lead abatement work orders. Within the past seven years, the authority estimates less than half of reported cases resulted in abatement. As a result, at least 100 children remained in unsafe homes despite testing positive for elevated blood-lead levels.

Equally alarming, the investigation shows that this practice of challenging the Health Department has persisted for at least twenty years. In an e-mailed statement, an NYCHA spokeswoman said that employees recalled this practice dating back to the late 1990s.

In the previous federal investigation, NYCHA blamed its failure to test for lead paint on a lack of public funds and a lack of manpower. When questioned on its falsification of lead inspection records, NYCHA indicated impossible pressure from federal agents to get the numbers.

Now NYCHA seems ready to own up to the neglect of its 400,000 tenants.

"We are now in a posture of not contesting," Stanley Brezenoff, interim NYCHA chairman, said in a recent press release.

Many NYCHA tenants expressed a desire for the authority to take more action on getting the lead out of its properties.

"It didn't come from me, it came from my place of dwelling, and I can't help the fact that we live here," Shari Broomes, an NYCHA tenant and mother of child who tested positive for lead, said in a recent interview.

To learn more about the investigation, visit the New York Times. To learn more about lead abatement and to get started in this vital career, visit Zack Academy.

Unlicensed Contractors Arrested in CA Fire Zone Sting

A sting operation led to the arrest of ten unlicensed
contractors, who reportedly targeted a community
devastated by previous wildfires.

Earlier this month, ten unlicensed contractors in Northern California were arrested in a sting operation targeted near fire zones. The sting operation was conducted in late October, where suspected unlicensed contractors were invited to provide bids for home improvement jobs on a home in Lake County, California. The jobs ranged from tree removal to deck building. Ten unlicensed contractors gave bids to undercover investigators. The bids ranged from $800 to $4,000; according to California law, a state-issued contractor licensed is required for any job valued at over $500.

The ten suspects were cited and could face up to six months in jail and $5,000 in penalties if charged with a misdemeanor count of contracting without a license. Five of the suspects could also be charged for illegally advertising services without a license to perform said work.

These unlicensed contractors pose a unique risk to their community. Over the past three years, nearly 2,000 Lake County residences have been destroyed by wildfires. The recent Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire have destroyed homes, displaced thousands and killed dozens. The California Contractors State License board noted an influx of contractors pursuing survivors, often stressed and pressed for money, despite lacking the proper credentials.

For homes in "fire zones" or areas that are most at-risk for catching fire, there is an entire set of additional building code and regulations. These regulations don't just protect homes, they save people's lives.

The structural integrity of many homes across California have come into question after nearly 100 fatalities were reported in this year's fire season. Some construction industry experts question whether these fire zones are truly safe to build on, while others question if building materials and building code should be reviewed. With widespread concern for licensed work, there is no doubt that unlicensed work has contributed to the structural failures seen across California.

Unlicensed contractors are not insured. Often times, they have not been properly trained on job site safety. And, unfortunately, the work of unlicensed contractors is often not up to current building code. Besides the risk to clients, unlicensed contractors impose risks such as jail time and fines on themselves.

For consumers, the California Contractors State Licensing Board recommends taking caution against hiring unlicensed contractors.

"Consumers should be sure to take some simple steps before hiring anyone to work in or around their home," David Fogt, California Contractors State Licensing Board Registrar, said in a recent press release.

For anyone performing home repairs and remodeling, its important to make sure you're qualified for the job. With dozens of contractor licensing and renewal options available through Zack Academy, there's no reason for any person on a job site to be unlicensed. Although California's tragedy is an extreme example, the safety of the community should be the priority of all contractors.

To learn more about the sting, read the press release. To learn more about contractor licensing and renewal courses, visit Zack Academy.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

CDC Report Finds Lead in Spices, Herbal Remedies

CDC Spices Lead Poisoning
In a report published by the CDC, health officials found that
spices- not lead paint- were the source of some
cases in a local outbreak of lead poisoning.

Spices and herbal remedies may be an overlooked source of childhood lead poisoning, according to a report published last week by the United Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report covered a recent outbreak of pediatric lead poisoning cases. Instead of contaminated water from old pipes or lead dust from peeling paint, the investigators found that turmeric, saffron, and chili powder were the ones to blame.

The report comes from the North Carolina Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, which investigated an outbreak of childhood lead poisoning in a local county. Nationally, the number of childhood lead poisoning cases has been decreasing, but this county reported 27 cases in 2013 and then 44 cases in 2017. The cases concerned health officials as many of the children lived in newer housing, which is typically devoid of the obvious lead hazards seen in old homes.

Investigations were conducted in 983 homes in North Carolina over the span of event years. The final report includes data from 61 children and 59 homes. Investigators found that more than half of these homes had no evidence of lead in paint, dust, faucets, or even furniture finish. In seven homes, the only identifiable lead hazard were spices and herbal remedies.

Over 95 percent of the spices consumed in the United States are imported. There is no national limit for heavy metal contamination in spices; as a result, investigators found lead in 63 percent of samples collected from the homes in the report.

Health officials suspect that the spices are contaminated right from growth. According to the CDC, spices are often grown in countries with fewer environmental regulations on leaded gasoline, mining, and battery manufacturing. The lead from these activities can leech into the soil and water used to grow the spices.

Although the investigation cannot definitively say there is lead in everyone's spice rack, the CDC still calls for a maximum lead limit in spices to protect children. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set limits on lead in food that children are likely to consume such as juice; however, spices are a gray area.

According to data from the United States Department of Agriculture, the average American child does not consume very many spices. However, the research from this report indicates that the old findings may not apply to children from cultures where spices are used more often in cooking.

In addition to better regulation, the researchers recommend for all health officials to be educated on potential lead hazards in food items in order to better protect their community.

To learn more about the report, visit the CDC website. To learn more about lead poisoning prevention and how to get involved in this important career, visit Zack Academy.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Top 5 Most Cited OSHA Safety Violations

This month, OSHA released preliminary data for its annual
list of most cited violations. Fall hazards topped the list while
the top five violations remained the same as last year.

This month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released preliminary data for its annual list of most cited violations. Among the violations, Fall Protection - General Requirements is still the most frequently cited standard for the eighth consecutive year. The top five violations remained unchanged for the fourth consecutive year.

OSHA publishes this list in order to alert employers on potential workplace hazards so that they may identify and fix them before injuries and accidents occur.

"The top ten [list] represents the most frequently cited standards, and they are a good place to start for the employer in identifying hazards in their own workplace," Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA's Directorate of Enforcement Programs, said in a recent press release.

OSHA violations are serious. Almost all of the violations on this list have resulted in a workplace fatality this year. Moreover, penalties and fines for these violations can easily run thousands of dollars- and not just for big businesses.

Here are five of the top ten most cited OSHA violations:

Fall Protection - General Requirements (Standard 1926.501)
Violations: 7,270
According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of U.S. construction site deaths. Violations of this standard apply to both general and construction industries; employers are required to provide fall protection systems for employees working near surfaces where they can fall six feet or more. This standard also requires protection from falling objects.

Recently, a Florida roofing contractor was fined $134,510 after an employee fell to his death. OSHA stated that the employee was not adequately trained on fall protection and that the company did not perform regular inspections for fall hazards on their jobsites.

Hazard Communication Standard 1910.1200)
Violations: 4,552
This standard has to do with accurately identifying and labeling toxic chemicals, while also training employees on the potential hazards of these substances. Failure to train employees on how to handle hazardous chemicals can lead to fatalities.

Earlier this month, a construction company was fined $28,445 after a worker died when a container of liquefied petroleum exploded. The chemical was stored in an unventilated container, which OSHA investigators determined was from workers not being properly trained on working with this hazardous chemical.

Scaffolds - General Requirements (Standard 1926.451)
Violations: 3,336
Although scaffolding is one of the most commonly used tools on a construction jobsite, there is an inherent risk when it comes to their design, installation and use. This standard includes fall protection regulations for those working on scaffolding 10 feet above a lower level.

A New Jersey contractor was fined $191,215 for multiple scaffolding safety violations, including failure to properly secure scaffolding, failure to provide enough planks for walking, and building some scaffolding too close to power lines. 

Respiratory Protection (Standard 1910.134)
Violations: 3,118
The dusts, fumes, and mists from work areas can lead to serious respiratory disease. Silica dust, asbestos, coal, and cement dust are some of the most widely known toxic particles that can cause emphysema, fibrosis, and other chronic conditions; however, even "safe" particles can cause obstruction or irritation in large enough quantities. As a result, respiratory protection is incredibly important to the overall health of workers. Violations of this standard comes from failure to provide good ventilation and adequate respiratory protection. Additionally, failure to implement a written respiratory protection program and failure to train employees on procedures and equipment are another source of citations against this standard.

In Virginia, a contractor was fined $304,130 for respiratory protection violations involving crystalline silica dust. Among the citations, investigators found that a temporary worker was allowed to remove concrete without being trained on silica hazards.

Lockout/Tagout (Standard 1910.147)
Violations: 2,994
This OSHA standard was created to reduce the dangers of working with equipment that could suddenly restart when performing maintenance or repairs. Violations of these standards come from inadequate or improper "lockouts" which are devices that prevent a machine from turning on, or improper "tagouts" which identify the person who installed the lockout device and is the only person who can remove the lock. This standard is important because many fatal workplace injuries have occurred from machines accidentally being turned on during repairs.

An Alabama steel company was recently fined more than $320,000 for lockout/tagout violations. Investigators found that employees were allowed to work with lock out equipment without being trained on how to perform a lockout/tagout on the equipment.

To view the entire list of violations, check out the ful presentation. To learn more about OSHA safety training, visit Zack Academy

Baltimore Wasted $170K from Lead Paint Fines on Gifts, Travel

An investigative report alleges that the Baltimore Health Department
misappropriated $170,000 in public funds on gifts, travel
and promotional goods for department employees. 

An investigation by the Baltimore inspector general found that the Baltimore Health Department allegedly wasted $170,000 that it raised from lead paint violation penalties on parties, gifts, and travel for staff over the course of two years.

A summary of the investigation was released Wednesday and alleges that $170,000, about half of the funds spend in 2017 and 2018, were spent on excessive travel for the department managers, parties and gifts for staff, and promotional gifts that went unused. The investigation also found that the Baltimore Health Department overcharged attorneys for access to documents to use in lead paint court cases on behalf of lead poisoning victims.

City officials interviewed by the inspector general gave different opinions on how the money generated from penalties should be spent. One official said that the money should only be used for fighting lead poisoning, while another said the money was free to be used for other efforts. 

At the center of the investigation, there seems to be a misunderstanding as to whether the money was considered private funds or public property. One former department executive was recorded in the report as saying the money was raised from "bad landlords" and "it is not city money".

In a statement, the Health Department acknowledged that it had a poor system for keeping track of inventory, but it takes serious issue with the classification of expenditures in the lead fines and fees account as waste. Further, the Health Department said that using the money to buy promotional material was a proper use of funds because they raised awareness of lead poisoning prevention services.

However, the inspector general said that the Baltimore Health Department only stopped ordering promotional items after investigators became aware of how much they already had. Photographs from the investigation show boxes piled high on shelves and stashed in filing cabinets.

"They weren't stopping. It isn't like they were using what they had. It was box after box after box," Isabel Mercedes Cumming, Baltimore Inspector General, said in a recent press release.

Some questionable spending in the report include:
  • Holiday parties and meetings that reportedly cost thousands of dollars.
  • Office snacks including $200 spent on tea and $150 spent on honey.
  • Giveaway items that totaled $120,000. Investigators found stashes of unused promotional items such as 1,200 water bottles, 1,100 earbuds, and 4,500 pens. Many of these items were damaged and unusable.
  • Two business trips that totaled $10,685. Two officials from the Baltimore Health Department traveled to a conference in California and then another conference in New Orleans. In New Orleans, the conference ended on a Thursday afternoon but officials stayed an extra day and used money from the lead fund for their accommodations. 
Baltimore's budget management office, who has been called into question since the investigation broke, iterated a disconnect between the agency's understanding of its lead fund and the public's understand of its lead fund. in In a written response to the inspector general, the office stated that employees of agencies with "special funds" sometimes come to the false conclusion that the money can be spent "as they see fit". 

The budget management office said that it recommends closing the fund containing lead paint violation fines and putting all "special funds" into a general fund. The office also recommends that the Health Department's anti-lead efforts should now be funded through the regular budget.

Beyond questionable spending, Baltimore investigators are concerned over the health department's handling of records. Investigators found that the department was overcharging for access to its records including an unlawful $100 "rush fee".

The Baltimore Health Department maintains medical records on children with elevated blood-lead levels as well as environmental safety records. These records are usually accessed in cases where attorneys are linking lead poisoning cases to a specific address- often on behalf of the lead poisoning victims.

The Baltimore Health Department had been warned multiple times since 2015 by the Baltimore Law Department to update its record request policies, but still had not done so by the time the investigation began.

It is uncertain whether legal action will precede against the Baltimore Health Department; however, there would be legal precedent as a similar case in New York City resulted in a lead paint lawsuit.  Still, from the investigation began last month, the former health commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen, has since left her position.

To read more about the investigation, visit the investigative report. To learn more about lead paint and how to get involved in this field, visit Zack Academy.

NYC DOB Local Law 196 Safety Training Deadlines Extended

The New York City Department of Buildings issued an
update to training requirements and deadlines for
construction workers, supervisors, and competent persons.

In November 2018, the New York City Department of Buildings issued an update to the training deadlines and requirements for certain construction professionals as part of Local Law 196. These updates affect training requirements for competent persons, as well as training deadlines for certain construction supervisors and workers. The updates have been split into two separate upcoming deadlines, one in December 2019 and another in September 2020. Now, construction workers and supervisors who fall under Local Law 196 have an additional seven months to meet the first mandatory training deadline or else face thousands of dollars in fines.

The updates are part of Local Law 196, which was put into effect last year. The law pertains to construction workers and supervisors working on sites that require a designated Construction Superintendent, Site Safety Coordinator or Site Safety Manager. These construction workers or supervisors must have a Site Safety Training (SST) card in order to work on these construction sites.

When the Local Law is fully phased-in, workers must receive 40 hours of safety training while supervisors at certain jobsites must receive 62 hours of training. The first deadline was March 1, 2018 which required all applicable workers to complete the OSHA 10-Hour Construction training.

The service update also affects training for competent persons. Workers serving as competent persons at construction sites that fall under Local Law 196 must have a Supervisor SST card.

Once the necessary training requirements are complete, the SST cards will be issued by the training providers. If training is completed with multiple providers, the worker or supervisor can receive their card from the provider of their final training requirement after verification of their previous courses.

Here are all the NYC DOB updates at a glance:

NEXT DEADLINE - December 1, 2019

Who: Workers
Requirement: Limited Site Safety Training (SST) Card (30 Hours)
When: Next Deadline - December 1, 2019
Expires August 31, 2020

Must meet one of the following:
  • 100-Hour Training Program approved by the DOB
    • with the provision of meeting the course work identified in items 
Where: Zack Academy offers a variety of construction safety training courses recognized by the NYC DOB.

Who: Supervisors
RequirementSupervisor Site Safety Training (SST) Card (62 hours)
When: Next Deadline - December 1, 2019
Expires after five years and renewable upon applicants showing that they have completed 16 training hours specific by the NYC DOB in the one-year period preceding submission of a renewal application.

Approved courses:
*Combo courses -  Some NYC training providers have grouped these shorter SST courses together to make it easier to complete all of your hours:

  • 32-Hour Site Supervisor SST Bundle: includes 8-Hour Fall Prevention, 8-Hour Site Safety Manager Refresher, 4-Hour Supported Scaffold, 2-Hour General Electives, 2-Hour Specialized Electives, 2-Hour Site Safety Plan, 2-Hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness, 2-Hour Pre-Task Plans, 2-Hour Toolbox Talks
  • 8-hour Supervisor SST Combo - includes 2-Hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness, 2-Hour Site Safety Plan, 2-Hour Toolbox Talks, 2-Hour Pre-Task Safety Meeting
  • 6-hour SST Combo - includes 4-Hour Supported Scaffold User course and the 2-Hour General Electives
  • 10-hour SST Combo - includes 8-hour Fall Prevention and 2-hour Drug & Alcohol Awareness
More classes are being added daily - please visit the links above, or our NYC DOB course page to view the current schedules.

SECOND DEADLINE - September 1, 2020

Who: Workers
Requirement: Site Safety Training Card (40 Hours)
When: 2nd Deadline - September 1, 2020
Expires after five years and renewable upon applicants showing that they have completed 16 training hours specific by the NYC DOB in the one-year period preceding submission of a renewal application.

Must meet one of the following:
  • 100-Hour Training Program approved by the DOB
    • with the provision of meeting the course work identified in items 
Where: Zack Academy offers a variety of construction safety training courses approved by the NYC DOB.

Training Required for Competent Persons:

  • Workers serving as Site Safety Managers, Site Safety Coordinators, Construction Superintendents, Concrete Safety Managers, and competent persons at construction sites that fall under Local Law 196 must have a Supervisor SST card.
  • Workers servings as competent persons must have a Supervisor SST card if they are responsible for tasks that must be completed by a competent person as required by Chapter 33 of the New York City Building Code or any other applicable regulation
For more information on Local Law 196, visit the New York City Department of Building's Site Safety Training page. For more information on construction safety classes and how to get certified, visit Zack Academy.

Post updated 03-28-2019

Friday, November 2, 2018

EPA Announces 141 Enforcements, $1.2M in Penalties Last Year

EPA enforcement actions
Last year, the EPA collected $1.2 million in penalties from 141
federal enforcement actions. Many of these fines were from
violations of federal lead paint laws.

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it completed 141 federal enforcement actions over the past year. These enforcement actions were against entities such as contractors, landlords, property managers, and other industry experts who failed to comply with federal lead paint laws. From October 2017 to September 2018, these cases totaled more than $1.2 million in penalties against businesses working with lead paint.

Violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act (LHRA) accounted for virtually all of these federal enforcement actions. Under the TSCA, the government has established strict rules about housing and child-occupied facilities built before 1978. One such rule, the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule governs lead-safe work practices and the disclosure of information about lead-based paint to tenants. Companies working with or around lead paint must know these rules or else face legal consequences.

One notable enforcement action of this past year was the case against Magnolia Waco Properties, involving television stars Chip and Joanna Gaines. The Magnolia Homes company agreed to pay a $40,000 fine on top of spending $160,000 to abate lead-based paint hazards in homes across Waco, Texas.

Another notable enforcement action was the against the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), where the nation's largest public housing authority affected at least 400,000 residents through violations of lead-based paint laws. At least 19 children in NYCHA housing were diagnosed with elevated blood-lead levels.

At least one company faced jail time; Stephen Craig of Environmental Training and Assessment in Connecticut was sentenced to six months of imprisonment on top of a $20,000 fine for falsely certifying the completion of a lead abatement course.

These enforcement actions are designed to protect the public from lead paint exposure. Although lead-based paint was banned from residential use in 1978, these properties can expose lead paint through peeling walls, chipped doors, and aging window frames. Lead paint dust can also be generated during the repair or renovation of these old homes if workers do not adopt appropriate lead-safe work practices.

Many of the cases originated from complaints and tips from local authorities including referrals related to children with elevated blood-lead levels.

"EPA's work to enforce federal lead paint laws helps protect communities across the country. These cases also hold violators accountable for their actions and help maintain a level playing field for companies that follow the rules," Susan Bodine, EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Assistant Administrator, said in a recent press release.

Lead paint violations can result in serious fines. To learn more about common EPA fines, read our last blog post. To learn more about EPA's enforcement action announcement, visit the EPA website. To learn more about lead paint certification and how to get involved in this field, visit Zack Academy.

FDA Sets New Limits on Lead, Heavy Metals in Food

childhood lead poisoning food
New FDA regulations reduces the maximum daily intake of
lead from 6 to 3 micrograms in children, and limits
adults to 12.5 micrograms a day.

In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set new regulations on lead intake through food. The agency reduced the maximum allowed daily intake of lead for children from 6 to 3 micrograms. The agency also set a limit for adults of 12.5 micrograms per day. These new regulations are a milestone in reducing childhood lead poisoning throughout the country.

Lead exposure is known to cause bone, blood, and cognitive disorders. In children, lead poisoning is particularly dangerous because these symptoms are usually irreversible. Lead poisoning is cumulative- meaning that even small amounts over a long period of time can cause health issues.

Although lead poisoning is typically associated with lead paint in old homes or lead in the water from decrepit pipes, the foods we eat can contain heavy metals. Lead occurs naturally in the soil and can be absorbed by plants grown for fruits or vegetables. Contaminated water systems or contaminated vessels such as pottery, cookware, silverware, and tableware can also leach lead into food products.

Even though the amount of lead found in food is relatively small compared to the amount of lead in lead-based paint, the FDA recognizes that constant exposure to heavy metals is still dangerous. According to the FDA "overall exposure adds up" because many of the foods we eat contain them in small amounts.

The previous daily limit for children was established in 1993, but since then new research about childhood lead exposure and its epidemiology has suggested the limit should be lowered. Researchers have brainstormed for years new tactics to combat childhood lead poisoning. One such tactic was enforcing lead intake regulations for adults in order to prevent exposure through breastfeeding and pregnancy. Another tactic was to enforce even stricter regulations in foods that are frequently consumed by children such as candy and juice. Both of these tactics have now been codified into regulation.

These new regulations can impact over one million children. The Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, used data from a six-year FDA diet study to learn more about childhood lead exposure through food. They found that more than one million children between 2 and 6 years old consumed more than 6 micrograms of lead per day. These stricter regulations can help these children who are most at risk for lead poisoning. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no amount of lead exposure is considered safe. However, the FDA recognizes that is impossible to completely remove lead from our environment. The next best step is setting stricter laws on food production to protect the public. These new regulations could save millions of lives and create a healthier world for everyone.

To learn more about the new regulations for lead in food, visit the FDA website. To learn more about lead certification and how to get involved in this interesting field, visit Zack Academy

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Renovation Company to Pay $53K in EPA Fines Due to Missing Paperwork

epa euro tech settlement lead paint
A Chicago-area roofing and renovation company will pay $53,000
as part of a settlement with the EPA for failing to provide
records of their lead renovation projects.

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) settled with a Chicago-area roofing and renovation company over alleged lead paint law violations. The company, Euro-Tech, Inc., has agreed to pay nearly $53,000 in civil penalties and take steps to comply with federal lead paint laws.

According to the lead paint lawsuit, Euro-Tech performed renovations on 42 properties that fell under the EPA Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule. These properties were homes built before 1978, when lead paint was banned from use in residences. Allegedly, Euro-Tech failed to present to EPA the necessary documentation that ensured the projects were in compliance with federal law.

As a result, Euro-Tech actually violated two laws- the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule. These federal laws require extensive recordkeeping of projects that disturb lead-based paint in order to protect the public from toxic lead dust. Lead dust can be released into the air, soil, or nearby water supply when debris from remodeling projects is not properly cleared.

Exposure to lead paint dust is associated with blood, bone and neurological disorders. Children are especially susceptible to lead poisoning as the neurotoxin can damage their developing bodies. Childhood lead poisoning can result in irreversible cognitive delays. Both EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree that no amount of lead exposure is considered "safe" for children.

"Reducing childhood lead exposure and addressing the associated health impacts is a top priority for the EPA. This settlement protects Illinois communities by ensuring that lead paint rules and regulations are followed," Cathy Stepp, administrator of EPA's Chicago-based Region 5 office, said in a recent press release.

Failure to maintain accurate records of a lead paint project is one of the most common violations of the RRP Rule. There are many tools available for contractors to maintain records of their work. Zack Academy has also put together a useful checklist of some of the most important documentation needed for an RRP job. Because EPA and other governing bodies can audit these projects for up to three years after completion and not just on the jobsite, it's important for lead renovators to document their work.

To learn more about the settlement, visit EPA's website. To learn more about lead paint certification, visit Zack Academy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Supreme Court Rejects Sherwin-Williams, Con-Agra Appeals

supreme court lead paint
The U.S Supreme Court denied appeals from Sherwin-Williams
and Con-Agra to rescind a $400 million lead paint settlement.
The case has spawned similar lawsuits across the nation.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected appeals from Sherwin-Williams Co. and Con-Agra Brands Inc. to rescind a $400 million settlement for lead paint abatement in California.

The case, which has been previously reported on by Zack Academy, last left off with the defendants filing appeals after the initial ruling. Sherwin-Williams and Con-Agra were sued by the several cities in the state of California for advertising lead paint in the 20th century. The plaintiffs argued that the companies knew the dangers of lead paint at the time but advertised their lead paint products anyway, which contributed to California's current lead paint poisoning crisis.

Sherwin-Williams and Con-Agra argued that the court ruling violated their constitutional rights and penalized them for things they said nearly a hundred years ago. They further argued that there was not sufficient evidence to prove that their advertisements directly contributed to the current lead paint crisis.

The U.S. Supreme Court's rejection of the appeal is a blow to Sherwin-Williams, Con-Agra, and other big businesses that sought out a high court review to derail similar lawsuits. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the success of the case against Sherwin-Williams and Con-Agra has inspired more than 80 similar cases in other industries across the United States in the past year.

"Pegging public nuisance liability to prior product promotion offers a tempting, facile way to shift responsibility from government policy makers and budgets onto corporations," Sherwin-Williams said in a recent press release.

With the rejection of the appeal, the $400 million settlement is expected to be paid out. The settlement will go toward inspecting and abatement over a million Californian homes built before 1951. These homes - built well before lead paint was outlawed in 1978 - are considered the most likely to contain toxic lead paint.

To read more about the case, visit the official court document for Sherwin-Williams and Con-Agra. To learn more about lead paint certification, visit Zack Academy.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Court Rules Employers Must Protect Asbestos Workers' Families

The Virginia Supreme Court ruled that employers have a duty
to protect family members of workers exposed to asbestos after hearing
the case of Wanda Quisenberry, who died from mesothelioma.

Last week, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that employers have a duty to protect family members of workers who are exposed to asbestos.

The court ruled in agreement with plaintiff Wesley Quisenberry in his lawsuit against Huntington Ingalls Inc. over his the death of his mother, Wanda Quisenberry, from malignant pleural mesothelioma, a cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. According to the lawsuit, Wanda Quisenberry's father worked on Huntington Ingalls' shipyard where he came into contact with asbestos and unknowingly brought home asbestos fibers on his work clothes. These fibers were inhaled by Wanda Quisenberry every day when she washed her father's work clothes and caused her death.

Asbestos exposure is known to cause several types of respiratory disease including malignant pleural mesothelioma. Inhaling even small amounts of asbestos fibers over time can cause an accumulation of these fibers the lungs, which are too fine for the lungs to effectively filter. Professional asbestos workers are taught to take special safety precautions for this very reason.

However, secondary asbestos exposure is a risk factor that is not always explicitly mentioned.  Professional asbestos workers can bring home asbestos fibers on their clothes, shoes, and tools. This is why its now required for employers to provide workers with showering facilities so workers can wash asbestos off of their skin and hair before going home. It is also now required for employers to use special laundry services to properly clean work clothes.

None of these practices were in effect in 1954 when Wanda Quisenberry's father began working at Hungtinton Ingalls' shipyard and exposed his family to asbestos. However, the plaintiff alleges that the defendants knew the danger of asbestos exposure at the time and did not adequately protect the employee's family.

The lawsuit hinged on whether or not Huntington Ingalls provided adequate safety training to its employees- and whether the employer had legal responsibility to protect the family members of employees from toxic chemicals encountered on the job site.

Huntington Ingalls maintained that Wanda Quisenberry was not their employee and was not injured on their premises, therefore they did not owe a legal duty to inform her of any asbestos hazards.

Ultimately, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that Virginia law and common law dictates that Huntington Ingalls owed a duty to people impacted by its actions.

"The Quisenberrys' situation is similar to that of a farmer whose cows wander onto a roadway, as in a case the court has decided before, or a company that dumps chemicals into a body of water. The actions of both the farmer and the company have created a recognizable risk to people who are on the road or in the water, even if they have never interacted before," Senior Justice LeRoy Millette Jr said in a recent press release.

However, the court added that more evidence will be required if the plaintiff Wesley Quisenberry is going to prove that Huntington Ingalls is actually responsible for Wanda Quisenberry's death.

Furthermore, not all justices agreed with the majority ruling. Three justices were concerned that the ruling would apply to a limitless group of plaintiffs because it puts no boundaries on to whom it applies.

Regardless, the lawsuit is expected to move forward.

"Now that the question has been answered, we get to go forward," Jonathan George, attorney for the Quisenberrys', said in a recent press release.

To learn more about this case, read the court document. To learn more about asbestos certification and how to get started in this industry, visit Zack Academy.

New Jersey Bill Could Create New Mold Certification Standards

If passed, Senate 2897 will create a new mold inspection
and abatement training program as well as present
new requirements for the mold removal industry in New Jersey.

Last week, the State of New Jersey proposed a new bill on mold regulations. If passed, Senate 2897 would create a state-specific mold inspection and mold abatement training program, as well as require workers performing these types of professional mold jobs to be certified with the state of New Jersey.

Mold can cause illnesses ranging from migraines to respiratory infections As a result, many states are tightening their regulations for mold inspection and mold remediation. Improper mold testing can allow mold to grow in a dwelling, while improper mold removal techniques can send toxic mold airborne. This is a concern especially in residential homes and schools as children do not have fully developed immune systems and can be prone to the effects of mold. Stricter standards on mold certification can keep New Jersey communities safe and healthy.

Although Senate 2897 has not yet passed, the legislature sets a time table for the proposed changes. The time table has been summarized below:

Within 6 months of the effective date, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs will establish new industry standards for mold inspection and abatement of the interior residential buildings and school facilities in New Jersey.

Within one year of the effective date, New Jersey will have a new mold inspection training program. The new required training for mold inspectors would include:

  • scientifically recognized procedures and new technologies for the collection of air and surface samples;
  • methods for the identification of locations of moisture infiltration to locate likely areas for mold infestation;
  • all applicable State and federal laws, rules and regulations; and
  • any other area the Department of Community Affairs deems relevant.
Within one year of the effective date, New Jersey will also have a new mold abatement training program. The new required training for mold abatement would include:

  • mold hazard abatement procedures developed by the department pursuant to subsection b. of section 2 of this act;
  • specialized cleaning, repairs, maintenance, painting, temporary containment and ongoing monitoring of mold hazards or potential hazards;
  • removal of mold and the abatement of the underlying cause of mold and associated water intrusion and water damage in indoor environments;
  • removal or cleaning of contaminated materials in a manner that protects the health of the person performing the mold hazard abatement, including requirements for the use of protective clothing or equipment;
  • all applicable State and federal laws, rules and regulations; 
  • and any other training or education the department deems appropriate, including but not limited to the successful completion of an outreach training program for the construction industry or general industry that has been approved by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the United States Department of Labor as an orientation to the occupational safety and health of workers covered by part 1926 of title 29, Code of Federal Regulations
If approved, establishing these new certification programs would give the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs the authority to:
  • charge an annual fee for holding a mold inspection or mold abatement license;
  • require a refresher course every two years;
  • maintain a list of registered mold inspectors and/or abatement workers; and
  • enforce these rules through fines
If passed, this bill would not apply to:
  • residential property owners performing mold work on their own property
  • employees performing routine maintenance on a multiple dwelling where they find mold; however, this does not exempt owners of multiple dwellings from complying with the rules above when seeking abatement work
But within six months of the mold training programs going into effect, anyone performing these types of works would have to be certified by the Department of Community affairs:
  • inspecting a residential building interior or school facility for mold
  • performing mold abatement in a residential building or school facility
  • presenting themselves to the public as an expert of these types of works
As of now, the bill has only been introduced to the Senate and referred to the Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

To read more about Senate 2897, review the official proposal here. To learn more about mold inspection certification and mold abatement certification, visit Zack Academy's website.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Rebuilding After Hurricane Florence: Flood Repair Tips

Remediate flood damage

If you're renovating your own property after a major flood,
here are some things to consider before you dive in.

Although Hurricane Florence has dissipated, the storm is just beginning for locals. Millions of victims along the East Coast are returning home and beginning restoration projects after the hurricane pummeled homes in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. While some will call professionals, many more are remediating their own properties. The "do-it-yourself" locals might be contractors by trade, or just self-taught and fixing what they can. However, the process can be physically and emotionally draining no matter how much experience you have. Additionally, insurance companies may require certified professionals to perform the work in order to receive full reimbursement. If you've experienced flood damage and aren't sure where to begin, here are some tips to help you get started.

Please be aware that this year's hurricane season runs until November 30th. It's important to have an emergency plan if you live in an affected area. If you've been affected by Hurricane Florence, Zack Academy sends our deepest condolences. Please review these disaster relief programs to help you in your time of need.

Insurance: The first thing to do is file a claim with your homeowner or renter's insurer. If you don't have flood insurance, file a claim anyway. Then you can try to apply for disaster assistance, a FEMA grant, or loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) - even if you don't own a small business.

Mortgage: Contact the company that holds your mortgage or rent. Sometimes, you can arrange payment plans or even temporary payment moratoriums in the event of a disaster. Keep records during this time as you may be eligible for tax benefits at the end of the year. 

Returning Home: If your home was flooded, chances are you had to evacuate. It's a good idea to return home as soon as it is safe to do so because the longer any floodwater sits in your home, the more damage will be done to your property. Be sure to ventilate your home as soon as you return to help air out any fungus. Turn on fans if you have electricity, but don't turn up the heat as warm air can facilitate mold growth.

Planning the Project: Before you jump into sanitizing your home, it's important to have a plan of what to do. Seeing your favorite items destroyed can be overwhelming for anyone, and when you're emotional, you won't make rational decisions. Survey your property and then make a list of what needs to be trashed and what can be salvaged. Be sure to:
  • Make note of the items you remove from your property.
  • Take pictures of the items with their model numbers, unique identifiers and descriptions.
  • Add flood-damaged items to your claim.
Cleaning and Repairing: Thoroughly check every item in your house for damage. If you're going to clean personal items, keep in mind that they may have been drenched with pathogen-filled water or contain mold. Particularly for residents of the Carolinas, E. coli and tetanus are huge public health concerns right now as many farms have flooded, releasing animal waste into flood waters. When it comes to flooring and walls, even if the floodwater has receded, there can still be pockets of moisture trapped in crevices. If you don't remediate these areas, you can cause lasting structural damage to your property.  If you're going to clean it all yourself, remember that:
  • You should always wear protective equipment when working in flood-damaged areas.
  • You should log the costs of all your repairs to add to your claims.
  • Rebuilding before your property is completely dry will only cause longterm damage. 
Calling a Professional: Even if you're a home contractor yourself, some types of flood repairs might be beyond your expertise. You can either call a professional for immediate assistance, or consider getting certified to perform specialty repairs if you have a big neighborhood project on your hands. Whatever you do, you're going to need specialized training for these types of flood repairs:
  • Electrical Damage: If you don't have the right equipment or experience, do not handle damaged electrical outlets or wiring. Besides the inherent personal danger, some states can fine you for performing electrical work without a license. If you're still determined to go at it on your own, at least consider a Basic Electricity Course.
  • Exposed Asbestos: Knocking down walls can expose asbestos-containing insulation and piping. The EPA is extremely strict about asbestos removal, so consider professional options before you handle asbestos. If you're interested in asbestos training, Zack Academy offers several courses.
  • Damaged Lead Paint: If your house was built before 1978, it may contain lead paint. Although you don't need an EPA Lead Renovator Certification to work on your own property that you reside in, it's highly advised to either consult a certified Lead Renovator or take the class yourself. Lead paint is extremely toxic and requires special lead-safe work practices.
  • Wastewater: Garages and tool sheds are often overlooked during aftermath renovations. This is a huge mistake; if you illegally dump water contaminated with chemicals like cleaners, fertilizers, and gasoline, you can be fined by the EPA. If you aren't familiar with wastewater laws, you can start with the EPA Clean Water Act. Consult a professional, or consider taking a basic stormwater course depending on the scope of your project.
  • Extensive Water Damage: When an entire structure has been flooded, you'll need specialized drying equipment. It's best to leave water damage restoration equipment to IICRC-certified Water Damage Restoration Technicians or Applied Structural Drying Technicians. They'll have access to commercial drying equipment that will get the job done faster. If you want to learn the techniques anyway, you can register for an IICRC Water Damage Restoration Technician Course.
Although the aftermath of flooding can seem daunting, it is possible to rebuild. To learn more about disaster relief programs, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency. To get certified to renovate before the next storm, visit Zack Academy. Zack Academy offers a variety of in-person and online vocational training courses relevant to disaster renovation.

Where to Find Grants for your Small Business

small business grants
Finding small business grants doesn't have to be complicated.
Here are some resources dedicated to funding
small businesses.

They say you have to spend money to make money - but when you're a small business owner, every penny counts. That's where small business grants come in.

Unlike loans, grants are basically free money that federal, state or private provide to give your business a boost. Grants can go toward buying new equipment for your business, expanding your workforce, developing new techniques for your trade, and more. The only catch is that finding small business grants can be an arduous task. The competition for grants is fierce, and finding just one can take hours of researching and writing application after application. If you don't even know where to start looking, finding small business grants can seem impossible.

But if you're willing to put in a little work, the money is out there. Below, we've singled out some of the most helpful websites for finding small business grants.

Federal This site is a thorough,  if overwhelming, database of all grants supported through various government agencies. You can learn more about eligibility requirements and the grant process when you click on "Applicants". When you're ready to sift through the available grants, click "Search Grants". This website is a more specialized database where various government agencies offer grant money to companies that can produce solutions to issues such as energy efficiency, environmental pollution, and green building. Depending on your sector, these grants can be highly relevant.

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program: This federal program is not technically a grant, but can bring in big money to your business. This program sets aside certain contracts for businesses where service-disabled veterans make up at least 51% of leadership. You have to register your business to be eligible for these special contract bids, but the application can be done online.

State The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) typically does not award grants themselves, but their local Small Business Development Centers can find help you find local grant opportunities. You can find your nearest Small Business Development Center on their website; be sure to check if there are multiple centers in your state because the funding can vary from center to center.

Rural Business Development Grant: This grant provided through the USDA supports expansion of small businesses in rural areas. Awardees can receive up to $500,000. Extra consideration is given to businesses that show job creation and community development in the local area.

State Business Incentives Database: This website compiles a list of incentives for small businesses such as tax credits and tax exemptions as well as grants.

Private/Industry Specific
Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant: The women's clothing retailer divides $100,000 a year to 10 businesses where women make up at least 51% of your business' leadership. Extra consideration seems to be given to women in sectors not typically dominated by women leadership- good news for female-led contracting companies!

StreetShares Veteran Small Business Award: StreetShares, a company providing loans and other resources to veteran-owned businesses, offers a yearly grant to three lucky winners. Consideration is given to businesses that have a positive impact on the American military veteran community. If your company employs a lot of veterans, give this one a shot.

FedEx Small Business Grant: Winners of this grant typically receive between $5,000 and $25,000. Any small business operating for at least a year can enter; the website updates with the application form when the contest re-opens, which is usually in May.

NASE Small Business Grant: The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) awards $4,000 to one lucky business every year. Although you have to be a member of NASE to apply, there eligibility requirements are quite simple.

These are just a few of the financial resources available to small businesses. If you're a small business owner, be sure to check out our best classes for business development.

To learn more about other small business training options, visit Zack Academy's Business Practices Training & Courses homepage.