Calling all electrical contractors. It’s time to reduce childhood lead poisoning by working lead safe. By April 2010, all firms that disturb lead paint as part of their work in pre-1978 homes, schools, and other buildings must be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). After this deadline, all of these types of jobs must be supervised by a certified renovator who has completed an EPA-accredited one-day training course; other employees will have to receive specific on-the-job training. That’s where EPA’s new Lead-Safe Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) program comes in.

By completing this training, contractors lean how to protect themselves and their clients from lead contamination during renovation, repair, and painting activities. According to the EPA, hundreds of contractors across the country have already taken the one-day accredited RRP training course and have become EPA-certified renovators.

Although many electrical contractors may already be familiar with EPA requirements — some may even be certified lead abatement contractors — even contractors with previous training and certification must be trained and certified under this new program. In some cases, a shorter refresher course may be adequate.

EPA’s Web site now lists more than 50 accredited trainers at http://epa.gov/lead/pubs/trainingproviders.htm. If you don’t see a location near you, check back often, as this list grows weekly. A number of trainers have been approved to travel to your site as well. Individual certification as a “certified renovator,” which is valid anywhere in the country, is automatic upon completion of training, at no additional charge.

It’s important to reiterate that both individuals and contracting firms must be certified. Firm certification is straightforward – you must complete a short application and submit it with fee to the EPA. The application is available at http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/firmapp.pdf. The agency will begin processing applications in October in the order they were received. If you have questions about the RRP rule or certification process, visit www.epa.gov/lead or call the National Lead Information Center (NLIC) at 1-800-424-LEAD [5323].