Delay in Enforcing Firm and Individual Certification Requirements

The Renovation, Repair and Painting Regulation (the RRP Rule), which became effective on April 22, 2010, is intended to protect children and adults during renovation, repair and painting projects in pre-1978 “target housing” and in pre-1978 “child-occupied facilities” when lead-based paint will be affected by the work. The requirements are generally triggered when paint and other surface coatings, which have not previously been tested and found to be lead-free, are disturbed above certain “minor repair and maintenance activities” thresholds. While performing such renovation, repair and painting activities, certain lead-safe work practice standards must be met.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the RRP Rule because a disturbing number of children are still poisoning by lead-based paint in their homes. According to 2008 EPA data, a sampling of 178 child elevated blood lead level cases revealed that 71 or approximately 40 percent of those cases arose directly out of renovation projects that created excessive levels of lead-contaminated dust and debris.

Any individuals or organizations, including sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, associations, nonprofit organizations and even governmental agencies that perform renovation, repair and painting work in pre-1978 constructed housing and child-occupied facilities, such as daycare centers, must submit an application and fee to EPA to become “Certified Renovation Firms.” Also, individuals who work for Certified Renovation Firms must be properly trained by EPA-accredited training providers as “Certified Renovators” or be trained in lead-safe work practices and be supervised on the job by the firms’ Certified Renovators.

Because concerns have been raised regarding difficulties experienced in obtaining the required Firm certification from EPA, and finding and taking Certified Renovator training courses, EPA announced the following on June 18, 2010:

• It will not initiate enforcement actions for violations of the RRP Rule’s Firm certification requirement until October 1, 2010. (Please note that under the RRP Rule, EPA has up to 90 days to respond to applications for Firm certification. The Agency has typically taken 45 to 90 days to process these applications.)

• It will not enforce against individual renovation workers who apply for enrollment or who are enrolled in a Certified Renovator training class by September 30, 2010, so long as the training is completed by December 31, 2010.

However, all other provisions and requirements within the RRP Rule remain fully effective and enforceable. EPA will initiate enforcement actions against renovation firms and individuals who do not comply with the lead-safe work practice requirements. Additionally, firms are responsible for complying with the RRP Rule’s pre-renovation education requirements, which include the distribution of an EPA pamphlet, Renovate Right, by firms before beginning each covered renovation, repair or painting project. Firms are also responsible for complying with the associated record keeping requirements.

According to EPA, as of July 1, 2010, over 40,000 firms had applied to the agency and received their Firm certification. Also, as of July 1, 2010, over 365,000 individuals had been trained as Certified Renovators by EPA-accredited training providers.

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