Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips, which can be harmful to adults and children, if not done with safety in mind. Federal law requires contractors that disturb painted surfaces in homes, schools, and child care facilities built before 1978 to be lead-safe certified and to follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. Lead dust is the most common way people are exposed to lead. Here’s some additional information about lead-safe contracting.
While lead can impact children’s brains and is particularly harmful for developing nervous systems, lead is also harmful to adults. Lead-based paint was used in more than 35 million homes before it was banned from residential use in the late 1970’s and typically a lead test must be done in order to determine the potential lead risk at a construction site. Projects that disturb painted surfaced include common renovations activities such as sanding, cutting, and demolition can create lead dust and chips that are hazardous. Proper work practices such as utilizing dust containment systems, maintaining dust-minimizing work methods, and careful cleanup are key components of lead-safe certification programs.
To protect against lead exposure risk, in 2008, the EPA issued the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule that requires that construction firms that perform renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes must be lead certified. Contractors or other construction personnel can become certified renovators by taking an eight-hour training course from an EPA-approved training provider. Certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers must follow lead-safe work practices. Contractors who perform renovation, repairs, and painting jobs should make sure to tell clients and workers what lead-safe methods will be used on the job site and provide a copy of the EPA and/or the state lead training certificate.
Safety Service companies are an important resource for providing expert consultations, auditing and training – live and online – for all types of construction businesses that need to establish and improve their safety program and certifications.