Unlike the majority of states, Washington is authorized to carry out their own RRP programs as of 2011. As a result, the enforcement of the RRP rule is carried out at a state level by the Washington State government departments rather than by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice.
The Renovation, Repair and Painting rule came into effect in 2010 and it’s designed to prevent against the health problems that can arise from lead exposure. While lead isn’t typically a problem, when it’s used in paint it can create a thin dust when the walls are painted or destroyed, and this dust is easily inhaled.
Lead exposure is known to cause a variety of serious health problems, especially for young children and over time it can become particularly severe. To minimize this risk, it’s important that those working around lead understand the dangers and how they can mitigate them. Through proper ventilation and management of the conditions it’s possible to nullify the danger to the point of it being safe for employees and those around the job site.
Do I Need Lead Certification in Washington?
In order for job sites to be safe, the RRP rule requires that at least one person on the job site must have a valid certification at all times. As a result, it’s often necessary for renovators, painters and contractors to become lead certified in the State of Washington.
In homes and buildings that were constructed prior to 1978, lead paint was incredibly common and therefore the ruling dictates that you must assume these older buildings contain lead. For this reason, a certified individual must be at the work site, but even if you’re not a worker it’s possible that you must still obtain a certificate.
You will need to become certified if you’re a(n):
- Contractor: Even if you’re self-employed and not employed directly by the construction company, it’s often the case that you will be required to be lead certified. One person on the site must have a certificate and therefore if you’re working alone or in a small team you will need to complete an 8-hour training course, pass a final examination and apply for your certification through the EPA website.
- Renovators: Whether you are self-employed or work for a construction company, when you are renovating older buildings the risk of lead exposure is incredibly high. As a result, at least one person on the site must hold a certificate whenever there is work being done. Renovators are often the only employees in the building and therefore they must obtain a lead certification and be present to direct work and ensure that the operation is conducted safely.
- Businesses/Companies: While it’s not necessary for the company to attend any training courses, the business owner or an employee must apply for certification on its behalf. This certificate can be acquired through the EPA website and it allows your company to work on job sites which are likely to contain lead hazards. Failure to become certified prior to starting work is against the law and can be punished with severe fines and forced business closure.
- Property Manager: Any managers who are overseeing a project, whether on a residential or commercial property, must be lead certified or hire an employee who holds a certificate and can manage the project for them.
- Home Owners: Even if you are working on your own home you are not exempt from the RRP rule because the danger of lead dust is present for those around your home, not just you. If you are working on surfaces smaller than six square feet you don’t need a certificate, but for larger areas it is necessary for you to become certified in the same way as a renovator or contractor.
How to Become Certified in Washington
To become certified in Washington as an individual you must first attend an 8-hour training course which is accredited by the EPA. There are training courses which are not accredited, and these will not be sufficient for you to become lead certified in the State of Washington. After the training course you must pass an examination and then apply to obtain your certificate through the EPA website.
Ready to get your Lead Paint Certification?
Can I Take a Refresher Course?
Each certificate will only last for five years and after this you will be required to attend a new training course, re-pass the examination and obtain another certificate. If you want to continue working on sites that contain lead you must get another certificate and to do this you can attend a refresher course which is only four hours and which will allow you to get a brand new certificate.
In order for you to acquire a certificate you must complete your refresher course and apply for a new certificate before the original one expires. For this reason, we would recommend that you do this at least a few months before the original one expires to prevent you from forgetting and letting your certificate expire.
RRP Rule Enforcement in Washington
The State of Washington is authorized to enforce its own programs and for this reason the enforcement is conducted by the state department rather than the Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency. Violating the RRP ruling comes with severe consequences including tens of thousands of dollars in fines, forced closure of businesses and lost jobs.
Steps to Becoming Lead Certified in Washington
- Attend a training program which is certified by the EPA
- Pass the training and the examination
- Obtain proof of your pass
- Apply for your certificate through the EPA website
- Ensure that your certificate is at the job site at all times when you are working
Helpful Links for Compliance in Washington
If you’d like to learn more about the dangers of lead, the RRP rule and how the State of Washington manages the potential health risks you should check out the following links:
Do You Still Have Questions About Lead Certification in Washington?
If you still have any questions about how certification works, whether you need it and how you can obtain it you should get in contact with our team who can guide you through the process.