Posted by Peter Lawton, CSHO, Owner of LeadSmart Training Solutions and Parker Safety Group
Ever meet someone who impacts your life in a really positive way? I was fortunate enough to have a dedicated OSHA Construction trainer as I journeyed through my formal training. Jay started every day with his mantra: “Everyone Goes Home Today.”
OSHA is very clear about your role as an employer in the construction trades (supervisors – this means you as well). Here’s what the law states:
Section 5(a)(1) of the OSHA Act states: “Every employer shall furnish to each of his employee’s employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees”.
Would you feel your commitment meets this overall directive? Do you have the documentation to prove compliance? The OSHA Construction Standard contains 28 subparts (chapters) with several Addendums. The good news is not all necessarily apply to the typical contractor. Do you know which ones apply to you or your company?
How Does a Residential Contractor Comply with OSHA and the EPA and State Agencies?
There are a few specific areas you absolutely need to pay attention to:
- The EPA Lead Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule (MA Version is LSR), which requires an initial class, company licensing, and refreshers.
- Massachusetts Construction Supervisor License (CSL), which includes an initial class to prepare you for your test and CSL Renewal Classes that are required every two years to keep your license.
There are other safety classes that we will focus on in future articles, but these are the two big ones.
Who Needs to Worry About the RRP Rule?
This is the question we get calls on all day long. EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) requires that firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and pre-schools built before 1978 be certified by EPA (or an EPA-authorized state), use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers and follow lead-safe work practices. There are a ton of homes and other buildings that we have all worked on in New England that date before 1978. You and your crew need this training in order to comply with the law and to ensure that you are not poisoning your clients, yourselves, or your family during the workday. The RRP law is not always the same in every state. MA & RI “authorized states” for their state law to be layered onto the federal law. At the moment there are 14 authorized states. Vermonters are facing a more complex situation but basically begin as an EPA state but with a VT twist. Lead is a silent killer. It literally causes brain damage and worse if you don’t know the correct way to handle it. I can’t tell you the number of carpenters and painters I have met who have no clue about this danger and this federal requirement. They see it as “just another hand in my pocket.” Make no mistake, there are serious long-term effects with this toxin. Ignorance is not a defense when the EPA or OSHA comes knocking.
Who Needs a CSL?
The state of Massachusetts requires a professional with a Construction Supervisor License to oversee construction on residential projects including 1- and 2-family homes, as well as 1-to-4-family owner-occupied homes. There are three types of CSLs: specialty, restricted and unrestricted. If you provide only specialty work such as roofing, you can work with a specialty license. If you only work on 1- and 2- family homes, you can work with a restricted CSL. If you want to work on any other project up to 35,000-square feet, you need an unrestricted CSL. Most PRO New England contractors know this. What we get constant calls on is how to renew the CSLs. You need 12 hours of training for unrestricted, 10 for restricted, and 6 for a specialty license.
There are several more certifications that are dictated by law or by conscience in our industry. If you’re looking for guidance, LeadSmart Training Solutions and Parker Safety Group provide private and public classes throughout New England.
Give us a call if you need assistance in understanding any current details of your professional licensing or renewal requirements.