Construction trade workers play a critical role in preventing lead poisoning in New Orleans. Efforts which aim to reduce the incidence of lead poisoning risk being undermined by improper work practices in the construction trade. Disturbing structures with lead based paint without proper safety precautions and containment procedures is the single greatest contributor to lead poisoning in New Orleans. For this reason, strict federal guidelines are in place to prevent such activities with fines exceeding $30,000 per violation, per day, as well as loss of licensure.
The contribution of construction trade workers to the rebirth of this city cannot be overstated. Nonetheless, rampant violations are threatening our city’s future. NOLA Unleaded asks that all construction workers review the following information outlining roles and responsibilities as a key part of the initiative to contain the incidence of lead poisoning in the city.
CONSTRUCTION TRADE WORKERS ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Certification under the EPA RRP Rule is required for all contractors wishing to work on any structures built before 1978. Because of the age of New Orleans housing stock, this includes the vast majority of work done in the city. The certification training course will outline proper work practices which include:
- HEPA filters
- Six-mil polyethylene plastic sheeting
- Wet sanding sponge
- Signs posted around the work area that indicate lead paint removal in progress
- Procedure when working indoors
- Construct an airlock at the entry to the area using six-mil polyethylene plastic sheeting
- Remove all furniture and other household items until work and clean-up is complete. Cover any unmovable furniture with plastic sheeting
- Turn off heating a a/c systems
- Spray water before sanding (NEVER DRY SAND)
- Prohibited Practices
- Power sanding or grinding without containment barriers such as a HEPA attachment vacuum or system.
- Scraping without containment measures. Proper containment measure for scraping includes six0mil polyethylene sheeting extending 10 feet form the edge of the work area
- Working in winds of 20 mph or more
- Hydroblasting or high pressure wash without proper containment barriers
- Heat removal with a device generating temperatures greater than 1100 degrees Fahrenheit