Taking a Closer Look at Lead Training Courses and Their Importance

Lead occurs naturally in the earth’s environment. It is relatively easy to mine and winds up in a variety of places. Unfortunately, lead is also a hazardous material, especially to children and the continual exposure to this metal can have serious side effects.

Workers in the mining and smelting industries face the greatest exposure, but workers in certain industries, such as renovation and construction, also face a serious exposure to lead. Because the dangers of lead in other industries are not as obvious as the mining and smelting industry, the federal government has passed laws surrounding the protection of workers and proper training for those workers as it relates to lead exposure.

Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule Training

As of April 2010, the Environmental Protection’s Agency’s lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule places the requirement on contractors to employ at least one certified renovator, if they perform work on housing constructed before 1978 or facilities occupied by children. Companies must also go through a process to become a Lead-Safe Certified Firm.  These firms include:

  • General contractors
  • Residential rental property owners and managers
  • Trade contractors such as
  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Painters
  • Plumbers

As a contractor without certification, you cannot advertise or perform renovations covered by the lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule. To become lead-safe certified renovator, an individual must complete a one-day training course in led-safe work practices. The training course must be offered by an EPA-approved training partner.

Training providers must be accredited. Classes teach safe work practices that contractors need to know to protect themselves and their customers from lead contamination.

This certification is essential for several reasons. First, improper handling of lead-based materials is hazardous for both contractors and clients.  Second, fines are very steep for contractors caught working without proper certification.  Do not take this risk.

The initial course title is LEAD Safety for Renovation, Repair, and Painting

What You Can Expect in the Course

There are eight modules in the class, covering these topics:

  • The dangers of lead paint
  • What laws exist regarding lead
  • How to prepare for work
  • Containment and exposure reduction
  • Performing the work
  • Proper clean up
  • Accountability
  • Training non-certified contractors

There are also activities and exercises to identify methods of reducing and containing dust and cleaning.

There are also appendices with additional information to help contractors:

  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Information
  • An information packet to give to clients
  • Providers and Schools
  • Compliance Guide
  • State and Local Regulations
  • Paint Chip Sample Collection Guide

At the end of the course, renovators must pass a test to earn their certification.

The initial certification is good for five years. To stay certified, you must take a four-hour refresher course before your certification expires. If you allow your certification to expire, you will have to retake the initial eight-hour course. Spanish language versions of these courses are also available.

Lead Abatement Training

According to the EPA’s Lead Abatement Program regulations, individuals performing activities related to lead-based paint abatement, risk assessment, or inspection must be appropriately trained and certified. The law also ensures that firms providing the training are accredited.

The course for initial lead abatement worker training is titled The EPA Model Worker Course: Residential Lead-based Paint Abatement.

What can a student expect from this course? The EPA provides a framework for training companies, which they can use or modify. The topics will include:

  • What is lead and where is it found
  • How lead affects the body
  • Laws, Regulations, Standards
  • Controlling Lead-Based Paint Hazards
  • Decontamination setup
  • Abatement methods
  • Cleanup, disposal, and clearance
  • Soil Abatement

In addition to the initial abatement worker course, there are courses for supervisors and inspectors.

The supervisor’s course covers the all the topics found in the initial abatement course, but adds additional content related to effectively supervising abatement workers on the job. Other management aspects of abatement are covered, such as regulations and insurance.

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