Attention Contractors: Your Lead-Paint Certification Deadline is Approaching - Fine Homebuilding

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Attention Contractors: Your Lead-Paint Certification Deadline is Approaching

comments (31) February 23rd, 2010 in Blogs
Cermides Chris Ermides, associate editor


UPDATE (10/1/10): LEAD-SAFE RESOURCE CENTER IS LAUNCHED AT FINEHOMEBUILDING.COM

Learn all you need to know about compliance, certification, tools, equipment, costs, and lead-safety at www.finehomebuilding.com/lead-safe

 

 


 

In our September 2008 issue I reported on the new EPA regulation involving safe work practices around lead-paint. If you’re a contractor who does any type of repair or renovation work on houses built before 1978, you’ll need to become an EPA-certified renovators. The requirement begins April 22.

The federal regulation requires certification for renovation or repair work that disturbs 6 sq. ft. inside or 20 sq. ft. outside a home where children younger than six years old live or visit regularly. Child-care facilities and schools also fall under this new regulation. In addition to following specific work practices, contractors must provide homeowners with lead-hazard information pamphlets.

To earn certification, contractors will need to complete an EPA-accredited training course. Some contractors who are already certified to work with lead-based paint will have to take only a refresher course

Why get certified?
 1. It’s your responsibility to work safely and by safely I mean in a way that doesn’t put your clients’ health at risk. If you don’t think lead paint is a serious health concern read this: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts13.html
 2. If you don’t get certified you could get fined up to $37,500 per DAY and you’ll likely get sued.

When’s the deadline?
UPDATE:
April 22, 2010 (the deadline was recently extended from April 1)

How will this regulation be enforced?
The EPA says it will use a variety of methods to determine whether businesses are complying, including inspecting work sites, reviewing records and reports, and responding to citizen tips and complaints. 

How do you get certified?
A compliance guide for contractors:
http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/sbcomplianceguide.pdf
 
Where can you get certified?
Find certification courses here:
http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/trainingproviders.htm * If there isn’t a training facility near you, be sure to scroll to the end of the state-by-state list for trainers who are accredited nationwide.

Other resources:
The Construction Industry Compliance Assistance Center is a good resource as well:
http://www.cicacenter.org/leadRRP.cfm

Here’s some basic guidance on safe work practices:
http://epa.gov/lead/pubs/contractor_brochure.pdf

Fine Homebuilding article on how to deal with lead paint



posted in: Blogs, remodeling, restorations, safety, additions, painting, lead-paint

Comments (31)

britneys britneys writes: The federal regulation requires certification for renovation or repair work that disturbs 6 sq. ft. inside or 20 sq. ft. outside a home where children younger than six years old live or visit regularly. Child-care tiffany and co facilities and schools also fall under this new regulation. In addition to following specific work practices, contractors must provide homeowners with lead-hazard information pamphlets.
Posted: 1:32 am on October 21st

tommmy tommmy writes: This is a great step towards enforcing green building and renovating. You can get certified through CleanEdison's training program. go to http://www.cleanedison.com/certified-lead-renovator-training.html It is a great way to make sure you avoid getting hit with fines upwards of $35k! It is definitely not worth the risk of getting fined, get certified today!
Posted: 9:52 am on September 10th

MoneyDiamondsandGold MoneyDiamondsandGold writes: Like most of you who have commented here the economy is making it tough to sell a job with a decent profit margin. Now we will be liable for lead poisoning to children while absorbing another cost that we have to try and pass on to an already cash strapped customer. I have heard many others say they would like to just hang it up. I to feel that way, but am also stuck with no other way to earn an income. I have five men who work for me who will also be affected when we start losing jobs due to the higher cost. I don't have the $ to put into all the equip. that is needed. I am signed up for the class and I have the $300 for our friends at the EPA, and I can't sleep at night thinking about how I will support my five children when we are not working. If this slows work down any more I will not be able to profit enough to cover the overhead I have built. I know doing the right thing for the home owners safety is important, but making me the contractor so liable is WRONG!
Frustrated in ST. LOUIS
EPA stands for eat profit away!
Posted: 11:19 pm on April 10th

amazingrace amazingrace writes: The latest clarification, as long as the debri from your renovation is in a 3mil trash bag and sealed you may dispose of it either at the curb a dumbster or a dump. The guildline ends at the curb.
To answer the question regarding long lengths of painted materail. As long as you are cutting that materail within your work area your fine. A wet spray or a HEPA vac. being used as you are cutting will keep the mess to a minimun.
Posted: 7:52 pm on April 6th

amazingrace amazingrace writes: So, I am now certified. My view of the lead contaiment requirements by the EPA is suspicious. As mentioned on previous comments below, it is a very large money grab. Not only by the Goverment but also by all the equipment suppliers. Coveralls,gloves, masks, plastics, HEPA vacs, bags , plastics, tape, boots, and did I mention plastics. I guess being green is really not important after all.
I do admit, the requirements give great advice on how to work even cleaner on the job site. But that would be all the praise I will give.
About half way though the course the attorney instructor had his 30 minutes of say. And basically the bottom line is cover your butt. There is no one to check your process or your final clean test. Cross your "T" and dot your "i" on your form. No one will see the form except the client and yourself. And file it away for three years and pray that you do not get a phone call in the future regarding lead poisoning. This certification CAN NOT stop a client from sueing you. That is why it is vital for you to fill out the paper work correctly, take alot of photos of the procees, get the client to sign off on the paper work. If you do not, you will loose the lawsuit.
There are a lot of gray areas within these guidelines. It exposes the owner of the company to the scrunity by the EPA, DEP and OSHA. If you are not following the requirmnets of OSHA for your employees you better start. If you are not following your local trash requirments of diposal of hazardous waste materail, you better find out and start.
By the EPA own words, containment and abatement are two different subjects with their own requiremnets. But, when you, as a renovation contractor certified for "containment" starts to remove the lead painted window trim you will fall under the the EPA definition of an "abatement" contractor, which is not what you are certified to do.?????????
Lastly, regarding cost. This will add to each job. Between all the equipment and added time for testing and prep work and clean up the cost will start adding up quickly.
One last word about enforcement. You will be enforcing the EPA rules, All it will take are a few examples made of the evil dirty contractors who are poisoning our children with lead . Getting fines and lawsiuts which will scare the wits out of the rest of us, who will dare the EPA. Do not forget the EPA expects all certified firms and people to notify the epa of any work in progress not following the guidelines.
Not only are you now an unpaid agent for your Gov. But, you have just taken on the responsiblity for cleaning up the mess left by our Gov. for the past 50 years of neglect and ignorance of the lead issue. And by the way you are funding the clean up. There is a sucker born every minute.


Posted: 12:14 pm on April 4th

fsf44 fsf44 writes: I'm not a contractor but I do sympathize. I work in healthcare and pay a ridiculous license fee every year that is really just another tax. And EVERYTHING I do in the course of my day is dictated by government regulations (easy to do since medicare pays the bills, and it will get worse once Obamacare takes full effect). It's hard not to get political when discussing a topic like this...
Posted: 8:04 am on March 29th

amazingrace amazingrace writes: I will be certified in a week or so. It is my understanding that some states have been under this requirement for several years now. So, I'm assuming that there are a few contractors listening in that have already been conducting buisness with these EPA requirements. If you don't mind me asking. Is it managable? Is it expensive to set up for a job that you are doing a kitchen reno, or 20 windows.? How much time is spent setting up/cleaning up? Or do you avoid homes with lead altogether? Has there been any legal issues ? I'm just asking that's all.Thanks in advance for you replies.
Posted: 6:52 pm on March 22nd

willsdad willsdad writes: I took the training in Jan. Some of it was common sense dust control and you can tell most of it was written by someone who has never been on a job. I still don't know what I'm going to do with a 16 foot painted trim board. It has to be disposed of in sealed plastic bags, and you can't cut it with a power saw.

It all stems from HUD and all the crap they did wrong in the 80s and 90s--actually causing lead poisoning. But they still think in terms of rent-assisted housing--Try telling a homeowner you're going to wet mop her 100-year old parquet floor.

They claim a study shows the rule will add $137 on avg to a job. I'd say more like $300 to $400 on a kitchen remodel. $100 in plastic alone.

I know how it'll be enforced. There will still be a thousand guys doing whatever they want, but those of us who got trained, try to do it right and sent $300 to the EPA for the privelege of being audited will get fined for forgetting to cross a "t" two and a half years earlier.
Posted: 11:23 pm on March 16th

MFournier MFournier writes: I understand the dangers of lead but I really wonder about this. Seems like all registered contractors should have received notice long before this took effect this is the first I have heard of it and I only have a few weeks to get certification?

Also I think this will only make it harder for people to get work done. Your house built was before 1978 sorry call a lead abatement contractor then call me.
For a small project the liability is not worth getting involved even though the true risk may be very small. I really wonder about this lead dust claims they act like even dust amounts so small you can not see it will kill you or cause enough brain damage to a child to give them serious health problems and learning disabilities.

Yet at one time people drank out of solid putter and lead cups, kids played with lead/tin toys and we all lived in old houses full of lead paint. And the numbers of people effected vs exposed do not add up. Many more were exposed to lead then got sick from it. I am not saying lead is completely safe I do not reject all the studies but I really feel the way they treat it like it is Nuclear fall out is over kill.

I have never had my own lead levels checked that I know of but I can name a thousand reasons why it should be through the roof.
I grew up in old house my whole life I worked with lead based painted both house paint and Artist oil paints (lead White) I used lead based solder I made my own lead fishing weights and as a kid we used to use lead shot sinkers and crimp them with our teeth. (this was all before 1978) I ate birds shot with lead shot and got the occasional shotgun pellet in my food (again before regulations against lead shot). I have stripped lead based paint (before people made a big deal about it) And was covered in it. Now I should have ingested enough to have serious health problems by now but as far as I know I have no ill effects from any of it.

Yet they are trying to tell us some dust so small as to be invisible or blend in with normal house hold dust is enough to cause serious health problems in children. Well I of course take precautions now but in the back of my mind I wonder how much of this is hysteria. Please spare me the stories I have heard it and read the data from the EPA yet I have a hard time reconciling the data with my own experience.
Posted: 9:54 pm on March 16th

MCarr MCarr writes: This will be bigger than Asbestos!!
Big Brother Nanny State Govt and the trial lawyers.
Posted: 8:56 pm on March 11th

amazingrace amazingrace writes: Back in 1986,In the county that I mostly work in, the county gov. required all Home Improvement contractors to be licensed by the county.
No test, no certification no nothing, just give us the $$$$.Well, most contractors blindly cheered this move. Because most thought that it would weed out all the fly by nighters, and the man with van and tool in hand guy. Well 24 years later, nothing has changed. The only thing that has, is that now basically, everyone from tree contractors, landscapers, window cleaners, you name it, they need a license. And the county does nothing to help the contractors. It only puts more barriers, such as more requirements for permits, higher coverage for insurance. Once the county says "jump" all licensed contractors better jump.There are still plenty of non-licensed guys running around.
There are about 6 small ciies in county. One has already required a license for their city. And two more are debating.
The reason I'm writing this is because I do not see a difference between the Lead Cert. and any Lic. It is just another fee that WE will all pay for, without any benefit. Weather it's the bottom line, ease of buisness or more buisness. I'm up to my neck with regulations, from county, state, and fed. I'm tapped out. Does anyone here see it differently, Am I missing something?
Or, are we all supposed to bend over the saw horse and take it like a man and do not dare complain.
Posted: 5:41 pm on March 10th

hunt1 hunt1 writes: I'm like everyone here- I want to do the job right.
That being said, I find it infuriating that once again our oversized government is costing all of us, not to mention the homeowners of America, much needed money. I can't express strongly enough my disfavor of someone sitting in a plush D.C. office, insulated from the reality of recession, making up rules and regs that make me struggle more and more to keep my head above water. Isn't this the same government that allowed the "too big to fail" money institutions help us into the mess that we're in? Isn't this the same people who over sees Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae? Is there anything that they are involved in that isn't bloated with inefficency and waste?
Everywhere I turn, someone else has their hand out expecting me to pay more. It may not be huge sums of money from any one place, but when you add it all up at the end of the year, it comes to a very large drain on my economy. My standard of living hasn't gone up, it hasn't remained the same. It has diminished. So has most everyone elses that I know. Especially people in residential construction.
My workers comp went up drastically. I expect that the same is true for each of us. I called my insurance agent to ask why since I have never filed a claim. The answer- "The government told the insurance companies they were not charging enough even though the insurace companies said they were fine with what they were charging."
Who is looking out for us? Who is there to say enough is enough? I'm so very frustrated that I would like to just quit! The problem is that I don't know how to do anything else.
Again, I ask, who is protecting us from the government? I can't afford to lose more business and keep afloat. All I see coming from this in the short term is more of us going bankrupt and adding to the unemployed.
Posted: 12:19 pm on March 9th

gerry61 gerry61 writes: sounds like a good idea punish everyone for the lack of care of the few. sounds like freedom.
Posted: 8:47 pm on March 8th

amazingrace amazingrace writes: Not to get all political on you "Royalt" but this was started by Bush not Obama.
Posted: 5:30 pm on March 5th

amazingrace amazingrace writes: Here is the latest, I have been on the phone with the instructor in my area, and the EPA. Of course I scheduled the course for my company and head carpenter. From what I left with after I hung up with him is this.
Within a year or two the certification will be tied to License's, renewals, and permits. Also when I asked him to explain the liablity issue regarding the following scenerio.
Let's say I completed a project following all guide line's. There are two children that lives in the home, age's 4 and 7. A year after I finish the project one child shows up with elevated lead in the blood. Does this certification protects me or exposes me to a lawsuit.? The response "NO ANSWER".
How can it be proven that the child did not have the lead before the renovation.? The response "NO ANSWER"
What if the home owner has had a major renovation completed in 2000 and whatever, there were no requirements at that
time. They have been living with the residue of this renovation for who knows how long. And then here I come in to renovate a staircase under the guidelines. And, well, I think you know were I'm going with this. The response, you quessed it. "NO ANSWER"
I do not know what the right answer to this certification is. As a contractor, I always try to do the right thing, I go above and beyond what is expected from me for my clients and by the codes.I have been in buisness for 25 years. But this lead thing looks like a trap to me. It looks like it puts my company on the hook for past, present and future lead poisoning. I do not see it any other way. Correct me if you think differently.


Posted: 5:27 pm on March 5th

Bob_B Bob_B writes: I'm a one man show and work mostly in Rhode Island, some in Mass. RI has a state cert I just found out about in addition to the fed cert, so I am assuming I need both. On the state level there are 2 courses offered this year. Pretty sure the one this month is booked, the other is in December. The closest EPA certified training facility is an hour away but at least they have a few courses a month. In total, I'm looking at over $1200 in training and fees to be compliant. Where is that money supposed to come from? I'm sucking air thru a straw and my heads under water these days.

I understand the safety aspects around this issue, especially considering my location. Without it being tied to permitting or without a big push to educate the masses, I don't think customers are going to be willing to absorb the costs, especially in the current economic environment. What I see is those of us trying to do the right thing losing jobs to those who don't know or don't care.
Posted: 11:55 am on March 5th

amazingrace amazingrace writes: Working with HUD is a far cry away from working with a home owner, who's either taking their renovation money from their own savings or equity in the home. Hud works with tax revenues and fees, it not their money. So sure, Hud, Comercial or goverment jobs are the way to go. But for a residential renovation contractor I can not see how this is going to help our bottom line. It is not an over reaction, it will cost more to work on a project, more paper work, more time. That is a fact. And the fact of the matter is if the owner turns to you and says, " The hell with it, I'm not doing the work" then it just cost you a job.
How is this an over reaction?
Last time I checked I am a carpenter not a health care professional.
Posted: 10:02 am on March 4th

Tim812c Tim812c writes: I took the class and learned a few things that i didn't already practice. I didn't think too much of the instructor or the company that was selected to teach the course. Smelled a lot like patronage to the Democratic party. They said that they would now get lots of work since the Dems. were in the White house.See Super Fund! With the new rules you are required to use all this extra stuff: plastic,tape,suits, placards, hepa vacs. etc; halfway through the class you get bum rushed from the supply company. Man, this was slick! They never heard of Festool vacs, just the $500+ brands.
You pay your $140 and then find out that it is an additional $560 for a 5 year license. Plus you need to order all this paper work from the EPA and keep files for three years for all the houses that fall within the parameters. ( To me it looks like you could be libel for a law suit, 10 years later) More Insurance, more headaches.
The economy stinks right now, I have had a hard time meeting my quarterly taxes, i worked one week out of the last two months, and they want me to pay for a license, that will make me have to raise my prices, so that i can't compete.
I have been using a Hepa vac for two years now, I put down plastic on the lawn, over shrubs,hedges and trees(royal b**ch)Hell, i even vacuum the lawn and around all the shrubs. I wear long sleeves when i scrape, i wear a lead/abestos dust respirator. How are the EPA going to enforce these laws? Where is the money coming from? I would love to find a new line of work, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of jobs to choose from.

Posted: 11:57 pm on March 3rd

amazingrace amazingrace writes: I'm a contractor in the suburb north of New York city. The majority of homes in this area where built before 1970. Most of the homes that I worked on over the past 25years falls within the years before 1970. I understand the health issues with lead, no, I'm not certified. But I do have a problem with burdening my company with this issue. The economy sucks as we all know. My co. at it's peak five years ago was grossing 1.1 , now I was lucky to break 300k. in 09. My pricing of jobs is getting to the point where it is not making sense, and profit is not seen. No matter where I can to cut cost, be more effecient, less waste or faster production.It's not enough. There will always be the under that radar contractor. But thats not my concern. My concern is after I get certified, I'm required to basically annouce to the home owner that the test came back positive and your house is full of lead. So that 8k job is now 12k. What would you like to do. So now amoung 100 reasons not to get the job, thanks for 101. Also to add to the mess that this puts us in, I was just notified today by one of my suppliers, the one that refers my company to do installs for them. That unless I do become certified, they will not be referring my company.
One last issue, which was already mentioned. The big "WHAT IF". Let's say you do all the right things. And someone turns up lead in the blood. Guess whos name will be on the lawsuit.
After three years of this ecomony, 10 men laid off, three trucks taken off the road, profit no where to be seen. I'm thinking about tossing in the hammer. I thought I can stick it out, but.................what are your thoughts.
Posted: 8:33 pm on March 3rd

Cermides Cermides writes: MWTcon: why did you decide on 20%?
Posted: 4:28 pm on March 3rd

MWTcon MWTcon writes: I plan on adding 20% to the total job on test positive. Or avoid lead houses all together.
Posted: 11:23 am on March 3rd

Cermides Cermides writes: Thanks, everyone, for your comments. This is an interesting and important discussion.

A colleague spoke with one of our contributors yesterday who has taken the certification class. Our contributor, who is a remodeling contractor, shares the concerns mentioned here, and is also wary of liability issues. He worries that if a child gets sick despite his strict following every guideline he could still be held liable - whether the child gets lead poisoning, or some other illness. It does seem like the mandate is putting contractors in a really precarious position with regard to liability.

If you’ve taken the certification course, please share with us how liability issues are addressed in that class.

I’m also wondering if a contractor will be held liable if a child gets sick while living in a house that was unoccupied while the work was performed (like in the case of a house that was ‘flipped’ for investment).

Posted: 10:02 am on March 3rd

imakhd imakhd writes: Here is the problem I have with this lead certification problem and I don't see the purpose of discussing the safety issues or how and where can I get certified. Who will eat the cost of lead awareness? Will the customer accept the higher prices or will they say they understand and just go with someone else who doesn't make a big issue out of it? Will the program make the restrictions mandatory enough to where other contractors will lose job opportunities because they are not certified? And here is one major flaw already. I have been doing work for someone who flips houses and he became certified but the work he performs (as well as the work I perform) on his houses are exempt from safe practice because he officially is the home owner. How is this just not the government looking to collect ? And during a horrible recession yet?
Posted: 10:04 pm on March 2nd

StancW StancW writes: The ZipWall sounds great it is not considered containment You still have to contain the room and have the people leave the premises while the work is being done.I here people in favor. What bothers me is they don't say how much extra they are willing to pay for this. I would like to work on there homes If they are more than willing to pay three or four times the labor to have the work done.How about it jmo2 are You willing to pay the x-tra and leave Your home while the work is done?
Thanks Stan
Posted: 10:05 am on March 1st

tonytiger69 tonytiger69 writes: HUD has been working with contractors and lead safe practices for years. In our state Kansas, contractors have participated in a program called the pre-renovation education rule. The requirements are more strinent than EPA and you are correct in saying the EPA won't be able to monitor it effeciently. They plan to enforce it with big fines. At least under our states guidelines the idea is to educate and fix the problems with the money that would have been fines. Those of you who think it is an intrusion on your rights, an over reaction, a waste of money are not educated on the problems that exist and the damage that it has caused to children for generations.
Posted: 9:44 am on March 1st

clayhop clayhop writes: another waste of time and money
Posted: 8:42 am on March 1st

SterlingDevelop SterlingDevelop writes: Another example of communist totalitarian government intruding into every aspect of our lives.
We are not free, and have not been free for some time.
Those of you who think this is an over-reaction are the sort of people who are welcoming our enslavement with open arms.
Posted: 7:38 am on March 1st

pakinjak pakinjak writes: I recently took the class, and from my viewpoint, it's an aweful no-win situation for folks like me, who want to do what's right, legal and take care of my clients well, but has to compete against contractors who don't care.

What I learned in the class is:

#1- The reg. seems to be unenforceable. If they were serious about enforcing it, it would be worked into the permit process. As it is, I will get struck by lightning before the EPA ever sees me on a job.

#2- Everybody else in my area knows about #1, and will ignore the Reg. People who price to comply with it will never get the job, and therefore never have to worry about compliance or getting caught.

The whole thing looks to me to be another thing that will be ignored by most, while generating some revenue for the agency who came up with it.


Posted: 2:37 am on March 1st

jmo2 jmo2 writes: Royalt, good for you, but I can tell you that MOST contractors do not work lead safe. They work with the type of tunnel vision that can get the job done. I can't even get the plumber to pay attention to what the electrician is doing. You think contractors are working to seal off lead paint areas, take steps to eliminate lead dust from demo, or clean lead dust from surfaces during ongoing work? No, no, and no. I have had to board up spaces with drywall in order to totally stop subcontractors from blowing through a Zipwall airlock with lead dust all over their clothes and shoes.

I once had a major painting contractor balk at the idea of working an external painting job to minimize lead exposure. His exact words were, "Well, if you want someone to put down plastic and mist with water or whatever, we don't do that." Really? Wonder how your clients and their kids are doing. Not to mention your employees. Idiot.

People need protection against lead and lead dust. Contractors need to work more safely with this. Finally someone is paying attention to it. It's about time.
Posted: 7:47 am on January 18th

JohnWilliams JohnWilliams writes: The EPA has a good reference called "Using Barriers to Contain Dust and other Pollutants" Here is the link along with the copy from their site. http://www.epa.gov/iaq/homes/hip-barriers.html . Barriers should be used to contain the spread of dust and other pollutants from the work area to other parts of the home. A simple barrier consists of 6 mil poly sheeting taped over doors and other openings in the room. Poly sheeting should also be taped over any supply and return registers for the home's heating, cooling, or ventilation system that are in the room to avoid spreading the pollutants or contaminating the ducts. Having blocked off registers, you should be sure to provide ventilation for the area. An exhaust fan, with provision for make-up air, complements this strategy well. For more information, see the discussion of ventilation containment strategies that create a pressure barrier to prevent the spread of pollutants. ZipWall's new ZipPole system. It is a great system for $169, half the price of the full ZipWall System. Click here to learn more: www.zipwall.com/lp/lpZipPole.html
Posted: 10:34 am on January 15th

Royalt Royalt writes: I just was certified 145 now I also have to have my co certified for 300 Its nothing more than a big money grab by the current adminstration . I have been working lead safe for years w/o their expensive guidance
Posted: 8:29 pm on January 14th

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