Lead poisoning in Michigan: How to avoid RRP fines

When you’re running a business, it is not simply enough that you learn a bunch of things like how you can advertise your business in a cost effective manner, or how to set an out of office autoreply message when you’re away from the computer.

There are a bunch of other important things to learn as well, and those things will inherently depend on the type of business that you have. For instance, if you’re a contractor operating in Michigan, chances are you may have previously or currently have work that occasionally comes your way, where the house was built pre-1978.

While it may not seem like a big deal to work on an older home, there are certain things that you need to be aware of, and one of them include the fact that you don’t just risk getting lead poisoning if you are sanding down walls that contain a bunch of lead paint, as pointed out by Check4Lead, but you also run the risk of working up some massive fines for your business if you don’t have the necessary certifications and documentation in place. With older homes, it’s crucial that you not only have the necessary safety measures in place when you’re working on them, but in addition you will need to make sure that you live up to the requirements that was instituted with the EPA’s RRP rule, which requires being certified in the safety measures that will help minimize the risk of exposure to the dangerous dust that comes when lead paint deteriorates. 

Since more than 70% of Michigan’s housing stock was built before the ban was instituted, you’re not only at risk if you’re the person doing the work on these homes, but if the dust ends up going everywhere and isn’t cleaned up correctly, it can affect the home’s residents, with kids being especially vulnerable to being poisoned. The issue about the exposure to this dust is also that you don’t simply recover from it. When you are exposed, the lead accumulates in your body and the side effects are ones that you will be suffering from the rest of your life. The worst symptoms include death, as acute kidney failure is a definite possibility if you choose to sand down a lead infested wall without the adequate protection, but for kids that are exposed to the particles as the paint either deteriorates, or from a poor cleaning job after home improvement has been done, learning difficulties and delayed development are unfortunately just some of the side effects. While there are organizations at work that are trying to fight the exposure of the dangerous material to those most at risk, it’s not just about the inherent health risks associated with this work, but it’s also about making sure that you abide by the regulation set out by the EPA, thereby significantly reducing your risk of getting thousands of dollars worth of fines that would surely put a stop to you running your own business. 

Including getting the necessary lead testing kits to ensure proper documentation of the presence or absence of lead in the surfaces that will be affected by the work you’re doing, you will also be able to provide the families whose homes you are entering with the professional attitude that ensures you’ll be getting word of mouth business from their family and friends in the future.

 

This one advice of making sure that you comply with the relevant RRP regulations when you are working on homes that were built before 1978 is, of course, just one of the many business measures you need to be taking in order to make sure that your small business is thriving in today’s climate. While we could write another entire article on some of the other important aspects of running a successful contractor business, like making sure that you do a good job marketing yourself, and being flexible, there isn’t a quicker way to ensure that you either unintentionally or knowingly end up with tens of thousands of dollars worth of fines. While you may not initially have spent a lot of money prior to getting going with your small business, it is still really quite likely that you have invested a couple of thousand dollars across the various tools and licenses you have needed in order to get your business going, and getting the right RRP certifications are just a minor step to protecting your long term interests.

Fabrizio VanMarcino