Architects and Design Professionals Haz Mat Hidden Liability – Whitepapers

Architects and Design Professionals Haz Mat Hidden Liability

Architects and Design Professionals Haz Mat Hidden Liability Condensed

Lead Lawsuit – An unexpected twist that changes everything, or a sacrificial lamb?

To All:

 

The article is below, I assume many of you are already aware of this – I found out late yesterday.  I have not seen what Leadnet is saying about this yet. . .  And ,I have not seen the detail of the settlement.

 

This may be the first of the settlements – and as I see it, it triggers the following issues that need to be considered (not a complete list):

           

  • This will trigger a lot of inspections and subsequent lead abatement projects – and perhaps a significant boost in the number of people attempting to become CDPH Certified in CA to conduct this work (Inspector/Assessors, Contractor Supervisor and Project Monitors).  When this was thought a possibility in the recent past, it generated a lot of interest from contractors outside of CA wanting to get CA certified – this demand may return now that the work is imminent.

 

  • Unless something has changed – I believe CDPH Lead Related Construction is supposed to be the agency that controls the money issued for projects generated by this suit.  CDPH LRC has been woefully underfunded over the past several years – could this be the thing that allows them the funding to staff up?  If so, this could be a really good thing.  If not, this could overwhelm them . . .
  • Currently, a maximum of 100 people per quarter can take the required test in order to be certified.  The demand for this testing could go through the roof,  I am wondering, is CDPH is ready for this?  One of the bills on the floor in the CA legislature now, would allow Health  Departments to  offer lead certification.  I am not sure if this certification process would be acceptable to CDPH . . .
  • All of this work will be being conducted because lead exists, the intent will be to address lead – therefore, unless I am missing something, all of this work will have to be conducted by CDPH Certified crews – NOT BY RRP Certified Firms and Crews.  Fed-EPA also says that if you are doing work because you are addressing lead, it is abatement not RRP.
  • I know Alameda County and City of San Diego have (had?) plans in place for programs to implement once this money comes available – I am wondering if other counties do as well.
  • Fed-EPA is in the process if reducing their hazard levels for paint, dust, soil and water – will that effect the work required by this settlement?
  • This settlement appears to avoid the implications of the Healthy Homes and Schools Act proposition in CA.  And  NL Industries has agreed to drop support of that proposition – but are we under the gun to settle with the other two defendants before that proposition goes out to vote?  If these settlements are reached, but the proposition passes anyway – what happens?  Also – were similar propositions put on ballots in other States, to prevent similar lawsuits from being effective elsewhere?
  • How does this affect the five or six bills currently running through the CA legislature that were designed to negate the effects of the Healthy Homes and Schools Act?
  • And the big question – what about the rest of CA and the Nation – how does this affect future litigation?

There is a lot more to discuss, I know – but it is early and I have only had one pot of coffee so far.

 

Here is a copy of one to the articles (there are several):

 

CALIFORNIA —Ten California cities and counties have announced a $60 million settlement with one of three paint companies on the hook for cleaning up lead paint hazards in older houses.

Read more ›

$60 million lead paint settlement should increase demand for lead abatement work in California

NL Industries Inc. agreed to pay $60 million for lead paint cleanup in a settlement with 10 California cities and counties on Wednesday, May 16. Two other paint manufacturers, Sherwin Williams Co. and ConAgra Grocery Products Co. (which took over Fuller Paints Co.), are still facing court-determined damages of up to $670 million in a pending case.

It’s too early to tell whether the other manufacturers will settle following NL’s lead, but demand for lead inspections and abatement projects in California should increase as a result. More CDPH-certified lead professionals (inspector/assessors, supervisor/project monitors, and abatement workers) will be needed to perform this work.  Since the work will be performed specifically to reduce lead hazards, EPA RRP certification will not meet current regulatory requirements.

As part of the settlement, NL Industries agreed to drop its support for a proposed November ballot initiative that would transfer financial liability for lead paint cleanup from paint manufacturers to taxpayers. The other two manufacturers are still gathering signatures for this ballot initiative.

We are watching carefully to see how this settlement impacts industry, regulatory agencies, and legislation in the Golden State.

Read more: https://www.sfgate.com/news/bayarea/article/10-Cities-And-Counties-Announce-60-Million-12924133.php

Paint companies and lawmakers battle over who pays lead cleanup bill

Would you vote “No” on an initiative titled “The Healthy Homes and Schools Act”?

Probably not – unless you object to taxpayers footing the bill for toxic cleanup that might otherwise be funded by private industry.

When 10 California cities and counties prevailed in a lawsuit against three major manufacturers of lead-based paint, the paint manufacturers responded by backing efforts to put this initiative on the November California ballot. The initiative would reverse court orders declaring lead paint a “public nuisance,” and replace judgements against the paint companies with taxpayer-funded bonds for lead cleanup efforts.

In response to the initiative campaign, several California Assembly members have introduced a package of bills designed to make paint manufactures pay for at least some clean-up efforts, through fees or consumer lawsuits. The legislative package also includes provisions intended to increase the number of certified lead inspectors in the state.

Legislators and paint manufacturers may wrangle over how to fund the work, but it does seem likely that more efforts to clean-up lead hazards in California are on the horizon.

UPDATE May 18, 2018: One of the three paint manufacturers, NL Industries Inc., has dropped their support of the “Healthy Homes and Schools” ballot initiative as part of a settlement with the 10 California cities and counties involved in the lawsuit. The other two manufacturers are continuing to back the initiative, as of this date.

Read more:  http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article206426434.html

Initiative text (pdf): https://oag.ca.gov/system/files/initiatives/pdfs/17-0049%20%28Funding%20for%20Homes%20and%20Schools%29_1.pdf

Summary of CA Assembly bills: http://cleanuptoxicpaint.org/common-sense-legislation/

A cost-benefit analysis of policies addressing childhood lead poisoning

“10 Policies to Prevent and Respond to Childhood Lead Exposure,” a report published in August, 2017 by the Health Impact Project (a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts), examines the effectiveness of a variety of existing policies addressing the impacts of lead exposure on children, and calculates a cost-benefit analysis for each of these policies. The study addresses the cost of likely health and educational interventions needed for children affected by lead poisoning, and calculates the savings achieved by reducing childhood lead exposure through the various means studied. 

Among the study’s findings are the following:

  • Eradicating lead paint hazards from older homes of children from low-income families would provide $3.5 billion in future benefits, or approximately $1.39 per dollar invested, and protect more than 311,000 children.
  • Ensuring that contractors comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule that requires lead-safe renovation, repair, and painting practices would protect about 211,000 children born in 2018 and provide future benefits of $4.5 billion, or about $3.10 per dollar spent

Contractors who follow lead-safe practices are contributing to these future savings, as well as helping to protect the health of numerous children.

The complete study can be read and downloaded from Pew Charitable Trusts here.

 

 

HMS, Inc. is hiring field technicians

Join the HMS, Inc. team! Do exciting environmental services work for a family-owned business with a strong commitment to employee development.

We are seeking field technicians for asbestos and lead consulting work based in our Fresno, California office. 

The ideal candidate will possess:

  • Excellent work ethic and reliability
  • Construction background; comfort with construction and demolition work environments
  • Professional communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Skill in using computer applications including Word, Excel, and Outlook
  • Ability to work independently and to contribute productively to collaborative teams
  • Reliable transportation with valid insurance and driver’s license
  • College degree preferred but not mandatory
  • Must be able to pass a physical and background check prior to employment

Training provided. This is a full-time position with medical, dental, holidays/vacation and 401K options. 

Please send resume and cover letter indicating salary requirements to tchipponeri@hazmanage.com.

 

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Michael Sharp’s remarks to EPA Regulatory Reform Agenda meetings

Michael Sharp, HMS, Inc.’s CEO, was among the environmental scientists, policy advocates and industry representatives who spoke to the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention’s Regulatory Reform Agenda meetings in Washington, DC on May 1, 2017.

The meetings were held in response to Trump Administration directives to reduce regulation. Sharp took the opportunity to argue for streamlined regulations that reduce industry costs and confusion while still protecting workers and the public from the harmful effects of toxic substances in building materials.

In his remarks to the committee’s meeting on Lead Exposure regulations, Sharp pointed out:

“the level of lead in paint that determines if it’s lead-based was not based on health; it was based on the accuracy of an X-ray spectrum analyzer . . . This leads to the misconception that paints and coatings which do not contain enough lead to be “lead-based,” are safe. . . paint with no lead in it at all could contain cadmium, barium, mercury, asbestos, and numerous other heavy metals and hazardous ingredients. . . We could save millions on inspections if we looked for any deteriorated paint, not just lead-based paint. We could make enforcement of paint regulations simpler, saving on enforcement while increasing compliance. We could level the playing field for contractors on projects that impact paint, allowing more work to be conducted by contractors doing the job well and, most importantly, protect those we are trying to protect more effectively while reducing cost.”

In remarks to the meeting on the Toxic Substances Control Act, Sharp argued for consistency between AHERA regulations addressing the handling of asbestos in schools and NESHAP regulations addressing asbestos in other locations.  He asked, if you want to protect children, or custodial and maintenance workers, “why only protect those in schools? . . . All contractors and construction team members, not just abatement contractors, should be required to go through asbestos training. This would save significant costs involved with the mishandling of asbestos-containing materials and its clean-up. . . combining NESHAP and AHERA would not put significant additional cost on building owners but could significantly reduce the need for enforcement and increase compliance.”

More reading:

Full transcript of May 1, 2017 Toxic Substances Control Act regulatory reform meeting: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190-22478

Full transcript of May 1, 2017 Lead Exposure Regulatory Reform meeting: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190-22477

Washington Post article re: public comment on EPA regulatory reform: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/05/16/epa-asked-the-public-which-regulations-to-gut-and-got-an-earful-about-leaving-them-alone/?utm_term=.e1dcd1dc759d

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New Silica Standards Go Into Effect Soon

New Federal and Cal OSHA silica standards for the construction industry are scheduled to be enforced as of September 23, 2017. These standards apply to any job tasks where airborne concentrations of silica may exceed the Action Level of 25 micrograms/cubic meter. If you do any construction work involving concrete, these standards are likely to apply. They require construction employers to have a written exposure control plan for silica, and to ensure that appropriate work practices, training, and record-keeping are taking place.

HMS, Inc.’s training partner and consulting competitor, Forensic Analytical Consulting Services, presented an excellent webinar on the new silica standards this spring. We encourage you to view the webinar here, and to contact either HMS, Inc. or FACS with any questions you may have.

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Join the HMS, Inc. team!

HMS, Inc. is seeking  a conscientious, collaborative manager for our Bakersfield Branch operations.

Duties of the Branch Manager will include:

  • Managing up to three technicians in field operations
  • Creating inspection and oversight proposals for established clients and developing new clients within the greater Bakersfield area
  •  Providing project oversight for the remediation of hazardous materials as part of renovation, demolition, and maintenance activities
  •  Coordinating operations with clients, employees, contractors, and staff from other company offices to meet logistical and regulatory requirements
  • Performing other duties as required to develop staff, grow client base, strengthen and maintain corporate operations and fulfill the company’s mission.

The ideal candidate will possess:

  • California Certified Asbestos Consultant or Site Surveillance Technician certification, or equivalent education and experience*
  • Experience performing hazardous materials inspections, project monitoring, or abatement work
  • Ability to prioritize, multi-task and see diverse projects through to completion
  • Professional communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Excellent work ethic, demonstrated reliability and planning ability
  • Construction background
  • Comfort with computerized data programs; mastery of Word, Outlook, and Excel
  • Ability to work independently, supervise, and contribute effectively to non-hierarchical teams
  • Reliable transportation with valid insurance and driver license
  • Must be able to pass a physical and background check prior to employment
  • *If not fully certified, must be on track, able and willing to complete training and pass tests required for state Asbestos and Lead certifications

 

To apply, send resume and cover letter to: tchipponeri@hazmanage.com.

 

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CDPH Lead and REHS classes now available

HMS, Inc. has been expanding its asbestos and lead training program, with several exciting recent developments.

  • Instructors from the Lead and Asbestos training program formerly housed at UC Berkeley’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Health have joined our training team.
  • We have received CDPH and EPA approval to offer courses for certified lead professionals. 
  • We have also been approved by CDPH as an Accreditation Agency for Registered Environmental Health specialists, so our courses can now be used for REHS ce units. 

It’s all part of our commitment to providing the most accurate and practical training in hazardous materials management available. 

View our training page for courses that are currently scheduled, and check back for more courses to come. 

HMS expands AHERA training to Bay Area

HMS now has confirmed expanding their training to be conducted in Hayward, CA.  We are currently working on posting our 2017 calendar for all Initial and Refresher AHERA courses.  For more information contact us at training@hazmanage.com

Update: Course calendar can be found here.

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