According to NJ Today, in just two weeks since 12 New Jersey counties were made eligible for federal disaster assistance, nearly $5 million has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist in the recovery efforts.
Over a holiday weekend recently our file server decided it was giving up and died on us. After several attempts to revive it on the weekend, our IT firm diagnosed the crash was not fixable and we had to enact our server crash contingency plan! We had prepared a protocol for just such a situation, and our IT firm jumped into action with setting up the replacement server so we could still operate normally while we then figured out what we wanted to do about a permanent solution to the problem.
Within 4 hours we had access to our email and database again!
If we had not prepared an Emergency Contingency Plan before this occurred I am not sure we would have weathered the crisis as calmly and professionally as we did. No one outside the company had any idea we were operating with a crippled system for several hours because we were able to continue to provide excellent service as we were confident in our planned response for just such a situation.
We handle other peoples’ emergencies and disasters on a daily basis, and it is a relief to know we can handle our own with patience, professionalism and a dedication to maintaining top performance during a challenging experience.
New Training Requirements
The rule requires individual renovators/contractors to complete a state or EPA accredited course and obtain certification. This includes building employees who do work that disturbs lead based paint Owners and contractors can get a list of accredited trainers online. The rule also requires firms that employ workers to have a company license issued by the EPA. In the past, the EPA rules for lead based paint only governed activities for abatement. Workers who have already been trained under Local Law 1 and who already have a Lead Safe Work Practices Certificate can be grandfathered in by taking a 4 hour refresher course given by a certified training firm. Owners who use outside contractors should make sure they are properly trained in Lead Safe Work Practices under the new rule and should ask to see their certificates.
Notifications and Disclosures:
The new rule requires contractors to notify tenants before disturbing any painted services by giving them a hand out called the ‘Renovate Right” pamphlet. This pamphlet, replaces the “Protect Your Family from Lead” pamphlet previously required. You can get a copy of a pamphlet by going to the EPA Web site. Contractors must also give tenants a disclosure form informing them of the nature and timing of renovation activity and the potential of lead hazards. The EPA has also provided a sample for contractors and owners can use here. In addition, workers (including your building staff) are required to post warning signs around the affected areas. If the owner’s employee is acting as the contractor for the work, the owner must give the pamphlet and disclosure form to the tenants. Owners who are using an outside contractor should be certain that the contractors have a copy of the “Renovate Right” pamphlet and a proper disclosure form.
Safe Work Practices
Like the city’s lead based paint law (Local Law 1), the new EPA rule requires safe work practices. Workers are required to cover all HVAC ducts, remove or cover loose objects, cover floor surfaces and doors. Upon completion, the work area is required to be properly cleaned using a HEPA vacuum or wet mopping. These work practices are very similar to the ones required by Local Law 1. So owners should easily be able to come into compliance.
Upon completion of the work, the certified renovator must perform the post-renovation cleaning verification by using the EPA provided post verification “check card” to determine if clearance is met. This will be done by using disposable cleaning cloths to wipe various surfaces in the work area. The color of the cloth is then compared to the color of the verification check card–if the cloth matches or is lighter than the card, the surface will pass the cleaning verification. Surfaces that do not pass the first attempt must be re-cleaned. It is important to note that the post verification check card does not supercede the need for third party clearance dust testing under Local Law 1. Property managers and owners in New York City will still need a certified lead inspection firm and lead inspector to perform clearance testing per Local Law 1 guidelines.
Owners and contractors must maintain documents demonstrating compliance with the new rule must be maintained for three years. These include the signed disclosure form, any owner opt-out forms and documentation that safe work practices and clearance requirements, as described above, were used.
The rule allows for exemptions from these requirements. The new rule doesn’t cover lead abatement as defined under the previous rules. It also doesn’t cover minor repair (defined as work disturbing less than 6 square feet inside the building or 20 square feet out side the building) and maintenance activities (for example, the rule wouldn’t cover the painting of an apartment if the owner did not do any surface preparation that would cause dust to be released), areas found free of lead based paint by a certified inspector or risk assessor, and work performed by an owner in an owner-occupied residence. Owners who got an exemption under Local Law 1 where no lead based paint was found to be present will be exempt from the new EPA rule.
New EPA Rule and Local Law 1