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60 days & counting: OSHA and the EPA’s Renovation, Repairs and Painting Regulation

For anyone that has attended the EPA’s Lead RRP training knows, there is more to worry about then just what the EPA requires. As I have listed in previous articles, numerous federal agencies have their own regulations that we must know about – the CDC, CSPC, EPA, HUD, and OSHA. The CDC & CSPC regulations do not really apply to a Homeowner that just wants a deck built, kitchen, bathroom or whole house remodeled. The EPA and HUD regulations, which we have discussed, state that unless you have proof that no lead is present, you must use these work safe practices when you will be disturbing existing paint in pre-78 “target housing”. The last agency that one must consider is OSHA.

What is OSHA?

Osha or oshá (Ligusticum porteri) is a perennial herb used for it’s… Whoops wrong one…

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is a federal agency that falls under the Department of Labor. The Occupational Safety and Health Act, signed by President Richard M Nixon, on December 29, 1970, created it. Its mission is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and occupational fatalities by issuing and enforcing rules called standards for workplace safety and health. The following states Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming actually run their own State authorized version which is either as strict or stricter than the federal statutes.

Back in August of 2007, OSHA performed a Regulatory Review of 29 CFR 1926.62 – Lead in Construction. They made a few interesting points in the review, which I will cover more in depth in some additional articles on this subject. One item that they included was a nice chart of the differences between the three different programs. Please note that this was done back in 2007 & did not have the EPA’s or HUD’s final regulation that was basically not completed until late 2009.

Table 8-1: Comparison of OSHA, EPA, and HUD Lead Programs

Element OSHA HUD EPA
Initial Assessment Air monitoring required. Certified lead-based paint (LBP) inspector or risk assessor; or may presume LBP or LBP hazards, respectively. Certified lead-based paint (LBP) inspector or risk assessor; or may presume LBP or LBP hazards, respectively.
The OSHA monitoring must be done during the work and could apply even if EPA testing found no LBP. LBP inspection includes XRF or paint chip analysis of each room; (or may presume LBP. LBP inspection includes XRF or paint chip analysis of each room; (or may presume LBP.
  The EPA/HUD testing or presumption is done before a project starts. The EPA/HUD testing or presumption is done before a project starts.
Work practices All practices allowed; PPE varies with exposure level.  Lead Safe Work Practices:  Lead Safe Work Practices:
Wet scraping or sanding. Wet scraping or sanding.
Chemical stripping. Chemical stripping.
Heat gun below 1100 F. Heat gun below 1100 F.
Power tools with HEPA vacuum. Power tools with HEPA vacuum.
Banned practices: Banned practices:
Open flame burning or torching. Open flame burning or torching.
Abrasive blasting or sandblasting without HEPA exhaust control. Abrasive blasting or sandblasting without HEPA exhaust control.
Heat guns at or above 1100 F. Heat guns at or above 1100 F.
Dry sanding or scraping more than de minimis areas, except beyond 1 foot of electrical outlets. Dry sanding or scraping more than de minimis areas, except around electrical outlets.
Paint stripping with haz substance or haz chemical in a poorly ventilated space.  
PPE Respirator requirements vary with exposures. Recommends NIOSH N100 respirators for high dust activities. Recommends NIOSH N100 respirators for high dust activities.
Recommends work clothes, booties, hats, face shields. Recommends work clothes, booties, hats. Recommends work clothes, booties, hats.
Hygiene Separate eating, washing, change areas; showers if feasible. Recommends no eating, smoking, etc. in work area. Recommends no eating, smoking, etc. in work area.
Recommends washing, tack pads to clean shoes when leaving work area. Recommends washing, tack pads to clean shoes when leaving work area.
Removal of work clothes, vacuuming of outside clothes. Removal of work clothes, vacuuming of outside clothes.
Containment Work area warning signs when exposure is above the PEL Marking work area. Marking work area.
  Exclude occupants from work area, relocate occupants during longer disruptive projects Exclude occupants from work area, relocate occupants during longer disruptive projects
  Sealing off room for high dust activities. Sealing off room for high dust activities.
  Covering or removing furniture and fittings. Covering or removing furniture and fittings.
  Covering floors with heavy plastic sheeting. Covering floors with heavy plastic sheeting.
  Shutting off HVAC and blocking vents. Shutting off HVAC and blocking vents.
  Closing doors and windows. Closing doors and windows.
Clean up Use of HEPA vacuum; (HEPA vacuum is required only if the employer chooses to use vacuuming for clean-up; the employer can choose other equally effective methods as described under 29 CFR 1926.62(h) – Housekeeping.) Use of HEPA vacuum. Use of HEPA vacuum.
Vacuum at least daily. Vacuum at least daily.
At end of project, vacuum top to bottom, then wash, re-vacuum. At end of project, vacuum top to bottom, then wash, re-vacuum.
EPA/HUD more stringent than OSHA (EPA/HUD require more cleaning and a final clearance), but requirements are not inconsistent. EPA/HUD more stringent than OSHA (EPA/HUD require more cleaning and a final clearance), but requirements are not inconsistent.
Medical Surveillance Required. Not covered. Not covered.
Compliance Plan Required when AL exceeded. EPA and HUD require an occupant protection plan. EPA and HUD require an occupant protection plan.
Recordkeeping Testing results, medical program 30 years. Reports on determinations and notifications – 3 years. Reports on determinations and notifications – 3 years.
Confused?

As you can see just off this chart, there are many areas that conflict. Well OSHA in the typical “we are from the government & here to help” has produced an “OSHA Lead in Construction Advisor” to help you figure out what you need to do based off their regulations. It is a simple question and answer system that tells you what you need to do based off your answers. While they will give you a final report, they do not track your answers to setup an inspection. Be forewarned, just like the EPA, following information off their site does not mean you are in compliance.

In the next article (or two?) we will delve a little deaper into the OSHA issue and how it relates to the EPA’s RRP rule.

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  • Mike

    I stumbled on this blog from a link at reddit. Interesting article with many great points. I wanted to say thank you for taking time to create this information. Mike from Michigan