Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Time for "Spring Cleaning" in Construction

When the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule came into effect, there was a flurry of activity as contractors became concerned about how it would affect their businesses.  They were facing the additional costs of certification and compliance and started thinking about lead poisoning in a way that they never had before.

There was always a group of contractors who thought that it was all smoke and that it was not worth the effort.  They never got trained or certified, and were/are able to underbid their competitors for renovation jobs.

As months passed, I heard the buzz of angry contractors who made the effort to do it right and follow the law.  Many felt that it was a joke.  Registration in certification classes waned. At the same time, the economy has improved, and contractors are getting back to business. They don't have as much time to learn the nuances of OSHA or deal with paperwork.

In the last two months, however, stories have started cropping up around the country about fines.  All of a sudden, contractors and construction companies are being visited by the EPA, OSHA and the Department of Labor to see if they are following the RRP Rule, OSHA safety practices and maintaining proper worker's compensation insurance.  The government may start fining businesses for the classification of employees as independent contractors. Compliance is becoming more important.

So, as you prepare for warmer weather, it is time to do some internal "spring cleaning."  Make sure that your insurance coverage is up to date and as comprehensive as it should be.  Follow the laws and maintain proper documentation.  Consider having your contracts reviewed to make sure they are in compliance with your states' laws and that they adequately protect you.  As they say, "better safe than sorry."