If you’re a contractor in the United States, you already know about the Renovation, Repair and Paint Rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2010. But many contractors may not have considered how these rules may affect their business’s liability. We believe that these laws increase contractor’s exposure to Pollution Liability losses.
About Lead Paint Hazards
Lead paint was outlawed in 1978 after it was found to be harmful, especially to small children. It can cause hypertension, high blood pressure and even brain damage. As you can imagine, if somebody is held liable for a child getting brain damaged due to lead paint, the financial loss will likely be substantial.
Summary of Lead Paint Rules
- Be Certified – The new rules require that all renovation contractors working in residential homes, schools or child care facilities built before 1978 must have at least one certified employee on the job at all times. For information on how to get certified visithttp://www.epa.gov/opptintr/lead/pubs/toolkits.htm.
- Notification – The new rules also require contractors to provide notification to homeowners and child care facilities about the dangers of lead paint dust. A standard notification issued by the EPA is available here: http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovaterightbrochure.pdf. There is a standard form that contractors can use to document that notice has been given to the homeowner or child care facility available here: http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/pre-renovationform.pdf.
- Follow Containment Guidelines – Anytime paint is disturbed in pre-1978 buildings, contractors must contain the work area, minimize dust and clean-up thoroughly according to
Definition of Negligence
Negligence is what a prudent person would NOT do in the same situation. Contractors who are negligent can be held liable for damages resulting from such negligence.
Due to the fact that these new regulations went into effect less than 2 years ago, there is really not any case history to show exactly how they will affect your liability. However, based on the definition of negligence, it is reasonable to assume that a contractor could be considered negligent if he fails to get certified, notify the owner or properly contain the lead dust. Due to the fact that negligence can result in tort liability, we believe that these new rules significantly increase liability exposures for renovation, repair and painting contractors.
What Can You Do?
Don’t assume that your Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy will cover you for losses related to lead paint. Most likely it will not. Lead paint dust is a pollutant and should be covered by a Commercial Pollution Liability (CPL) policy. If you are a remodeling or painting contractor, contact your broker and make sure that you have the coverage you need. There are several new CPL programs that have emerged in the last couple of years and policies have become more affordable than you might expect.
For more information please contact Tarah Gruber at 619-487-0376 or Tarah@redhotinsurance.net.