Lead Abatement Scholarships Offered in MI
To support lead-based paint removal in the City of Benton Harbor and across the state, last week the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced that it was providing training scholarships to construction firm staff and general laborers.
The new scholarship program aims to increase the number of certified individuals to conduct lead-based paint hazard removal.
MI Lead Workforce
According to MDHHS, the lead abatement industry needs certified professionals to complete lead paint-related projects across the state, both in terms of finding or testing for lead paint as well as eliminating lead paint from homes and other properties.
While the state has an existing lead workforce hub where professionals can inquire about abatement and investigation certifications, MDHHS is now offering training scholarships to receive certifications as lead abatement workers and/or lead abatement supervisors.
Lead abatement eliminates lead hazards in paint, soil, dust and sometimes household plumbing. Some lead abatement activities include replacing windows, doors and other housing components. In order to perform lead abatement in the state of Michigan, workers must hold a Lead Abatement Firm certification.
Construction firm staff and general laborers interested in removing lead-based paint hazards from homes located in the Benton Harbor area can receive training and state certification at no cost through the Lead Workforce Scholarship.
The Department reports that the worker course covers three days of training and requires no prior experience. Supervisors are required to undergo four days of training and must have at least two years of construction-related experience.
Upon completion of training, individuals will need to take an examination from the state to complete certification. MDHHS must approve applications for training prior to taking the courses.
If interested in applying, individuals are asked to email LCCAinfo@michigan.gov.
Although no scholarships are being offered at this time, the MDHHS also offers certifications for lead inspectors, lead risk assessors and elevated blood lead investigators. More information on initial certifications courses, refresher courses, state exam in-person and online dates, as well as accredited lead training providers can be found here.
Other Lead Efforts in MI
Several weeks before MDHHS made the announcement, FOX 17 reported that contractors, maintenance personnel and owners of rental properties had been invited to attend a free training session regarding lead paint in older buildings. The sessions took place at the end of July in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“We are excited about the response to these classes. We know there is a need for this training locally, yet we didn’t realize how hungry local contractors, rental property owners, and others are to learn about work practices that keep kids safe from toxic lead dust,” said Grand Rapids Lead Programs Specialist Paul Haan. “That care and desire to learn is what it will take to make older homes in Grand Rapids safe for children.”
During the sessions, at Home Repair Services, attendees were shown how to apply for Lead-Safe Certifications, which are a requirement for anyone working on more than two square feet within a residence built before 1978.
The certification is also required for anyone working on more than 20 square feet in outdoor settings and inside pre-1978 child-frequented facilities.
Lead Paint Enforcement in the US
In January, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to proceed with the withdrawal of previously published answers to two Frequently Asked Questions concerning property management companies and their compliance responsibility under the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Lead Renovation Repair and Painting Rule.
Having occurred on March 21, the withdrawal of the FAQs affirms the EPA’s decision to hold PMCs and the contractors they hire responsible for TSCA and RRP rule compliance, should the circumstances indicate that both entities performed or offered to perform renovations for compensation in target pre-1978 housing or child-occupied facilities.
These types of projects are required to have certifications obtained from the EPA to ensure that renovations are performed by certified firms and employees trained to use lead-safe work practices.
Several months later, in June, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to revise its standards for occupational exposure to lead.
According to the news release, recent medical studies on workplace lead exposure revealed that adverse health effects could occur in adults at lower blood lead levels than what was previously recognized in the medical removal levels specified in OSHA’s lead standards.
To reduce the triggers more effectively for medical removal protection and medical surveillance, as well as to prevent harmful health effects in workers exposed to lead, the ANPRM is looking for public input on modifying current OSHA lead standards for general industry and construction.
Specifically, OSHA is requesting that the public comment on the following areas of the lead standards:
In addition, the Administration is planning to collect comments on employers’ current practices to address lead exposure, associated costs and other areas of interest. Online comments are to be in reference to Docket No. OSHA-2018-0004 and are due by Aug. 29 on the federal e-Rulemaking portal.
For submission instructions, click here.