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What Contractors Need to Know about the Online Lead Safety Certification

written by: Sylvia Cochran•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 8/16/2010

April 2010 is the deadline for lead paint rule certifications, and the time crunch might lead a good many contractors to look to the computer for online lead safety certification classes. Is it possible to complete the entire training and certification online?

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    Online Lead Safety Certification: Response to Consumer Advocacy Legislation

    Lead used to be freely included in home goods and building materials. Since it was discovered to be a neurotoxin---as outlined in Jennifer B’s article “Protect Yourself from Lead Poisoning"---the government has taken decisive steps to remove lead. Contractors in particular play a pivotal role in this process as they frequently deal with home and commercial environments that still feature lead-based paints. This generally involves contracting work in buildings erected before 1978.

    As of April 2010, any contractor engaged in the renovation or remodeling of such buildings must have a valid Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification under the “Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting" rule. Qualifying for this certification ensures that the contractor is well versed in lead removal and the prevention of lead poisoning resulting from sanding or other activities that disturb lead paint. Even as the rule was widely publicized beginning April 22, 2008, there are still numerous contractors that have failed to make the time to apply for their certification. With time running short, the Internet will soon be the most likely training ground.

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    Nuts and Bolts of the Lead Safety Certification

    To qualify for and keep the certification, the contractor must showcase knowledge in the areas of containment, exposure prevention, cleanup safety, and cleanup verification. While the EPA sets the federal standard for lead safety certification, states may opt to add to the rules. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) cautions contractors to stay abreast of any additional regulations they must abide by.

    There are a number of different classes available. Contractors must ensure that they choose EPA accredited coursework to satisfy the federal requirements. The best solution is to access the training manual directly on the EPA’s website---it is available in both English and Spanish---and work through the eight modules and associated appendices. At this point, the professional must seek out an EPA approved training provider to complete two hours of hands-on training in order to finish the certification process. Finally, the contractor may apply for the official EPA certification.

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    Who Will Likely Benefit from the Online Lead Safety Certification Courses?

    If you envision only drywall installers and general contractors benefiting from this course, you are mistaken. Instead, HomeSafe Training---an onsite and online course provider for contractors---advises that landscapers, remodelers, HVAC professionals, electricians, painters, window installers, and a host of other specialty contractors are affected by the EPA rule.

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    Sources

    • EPA’s “Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting" rule: http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm
    • NAHB: http://www.nbnnews.com/NBN/issues/2009-10-26/Remodelers/index.html
    • HomeSafe Training: http://www.homesafetraining.com/classinfo.html#rrp
    • EPA Training Manual: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/lead/pubs/epahudrrmodel.htm
    • Apply for the official EPA certification: http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/firmapp.pdf