Safety Standards For Contractors

The improved safety standards and increased enforcement of RRP standards have made contractors accountable at a higher level. At the same time, this means that contractors are forced to take safe practices and protocol for their employees more seriously as well so there are better working conditions and projects get completed in a more environmentally friendly way.

Landlords are also subject to these rules and regulations. New tenants and lease renewals must be accompanied by the EPA pamphlet “Protecting Your Family From Lead In Your Home.” Landlords are also required to use contractors that have been certified by an approved agency for renovation or repair of lead-containing structures.

Rules For Structures Before 1978

The RRP standards apply to any structure built or renovated before 1978. There is always a chance that lead paint was used. Although many people may be thinking what that there must not be too many structures that haven’t had a fresh coat in that long, the truth of the matter is that there are far more than you might think.

Just applying a fresh coat of paint doesn’t mean the lead in underlying layers is gone. When renovations or demolitions occur, this lead can be released into the environment.

Contractors That Must Comply

It is not only general contractors that must comply with RRP. If you are an electrician, plumber, carpenter, or perform any other maintenance or renovations then it is very likely you need to be brought into compliance if you are not already. Landlords are also subject to these rules. Sole proprietorship is not an exception to the rule.

The only case where exceptions are made are when individuals are working in their homes; If you are in the business of just new construction, then you might not be that concerned however if you ever work on any structure built before 1978 then you are violating the law. It is against the law for you to advertise or accept any renovation work on older structures without the easy to get certification.


Critics of EPA RRP rules usually bring up the fact that so few contractors know that they need to come into compliance. Education efforts are starting to happen but unfortunately too many hard working people are not aware of their noncompliance until they are found out.

Becoming Certified

The National Association Of Homebuilders is dedicated to helping contractors become aware of rules and learn how to become compliant. With an increase in enforcement, it has become very apparent that many professionals are not even aware of the specifics of the rule. This means although a contractor may think they are taking appropriate safety measures, they may very well not be doing enough.

EPA Website

The EPA website has a lot of valuable information for those that are confused about rules and regulations. You can apply for certification and be put into contact with agencies that provide approved training.

Anyone that lives in the of states below must contact their state for certification. These states enforce the rules on their own.

States With Separate Certification.

Alabama, Delaware,Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin

Special Cases

While the RRP rules are strict about homes and daycare renovations, there are some exceptions that contractors need to be aware of as well.

RRP rules do not apply in the following cases.

  • Dwellings without official bedrooms. Dormitories and studio apartments are an example of this exemption.
  • Buildings that have been tested by a certified tester and have been declared to be lead-free.
  • Minor repairs that disturb very little paint. The guidelines for this exemption are that 6 square feet or less of the interior surface is disturbed or 20 square feet or less if the repair is on the exterior.
  • Housing for elderly and disabled adults is exempt unless young children are expected to be present regularly as well.
  • Homes or buildings built after 1978

Although these exemptions exist, it is still worth noting that it is never a good idea to risk exposing anyone to lead. If you want to be sure, then testing is the best way to do this. Knowing is so much better than taking any unnecessary risks when it comes to your health or that of others.

What Homeowners Should Know

If you ever want to rent your home out, then you need to make sure it is lead-free. While it is your choice to live in a space with unknown levels of lead, if you start using Air BnB or take on a renter you are all of a sudden out of compliance and need to have your home tested for lead levels.

Lead Abatement Rules

If you as a contractor are starting a project that is in response to an Elevated Blood Lead Level determination or emergency removal order, then you need to let the EPA know at least the day of the removal. For other situations, the EPA asks for five-day notice.

These reports can be submitted via the CDX system online in little time.

Keeping Records

It is critical that contractors maintain records of renovations for a minimum of 3 years to be in compliance with RRP regulations. This means a complete record of any certifications or tests performed to determine that lead paint was not present and records of educational materials such as the lead pamphlet to ensure home or business owners are aware of lead risks. Good records must also be kept of precautions taken if lead paint was present.

With more than 75 violations within the last year, all too many contractors have learned the hard way the stiff fines that can be levied for noncompliance. In October 2016 a fine of $69,398 was levied against a Portland, Oregon renovator for failure to comply with RRP.

Larger firms are also at risk. A fine of $400,000 was levied against Sears for violations and has caused them to have a complete company-wide analysis of how their business is complying throughout their network of contractors.

Creating A Compliance Plan

Signing up for a course and completing it is required of course but you also need to evaluate your practices and purchase any equipment that is needed for compliance purposes. Most of the time a lot of practices are already being done, and contractors may be very amazed at how little they have to change to meet compliance.

Employee Training

Any employees deserve the courtesy of training for any new protocols. Even if an employee is working under your certification, it is critical that they know proper procedures. New safety equipment or a change in the process means you need to communicate with them and make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to compliance and work place safety.

Lead Abatement Worker Training

If you are interested in being a lead abatement specialist, then there is a training program that can get you the path to success. The EPA has a database of training providers. This can add a lucrative line to the credentials of your company. This means that when someone is seeking out a lead abatement expert and needs some renovations, you will be ahead of the competition.

There are tens of millions of homes and businesses that will need repairs and renovations over the years but may have some lead residue left in them. Knowing how to safely deal with these situations will help the public stay safer and healthier and create demand for those that know how to safely conduct renovations.

Contractor Knowledge Is Key

Contractors need to know the rules and regulations so they can avoid fines and disruption of business. Advances in safely handling lead paint are something everyone should be aware of in the construction industry. Clients can be reassured that they are dealing with a real professional if you take their safety and that of your workers seriously.