DOE Weatherization Training and Lead-Safe Requirements

April 19, 2011 -- Mark Schlager, MS, CIH; President of Access Training Services, Inc. Pennsauken, NJ called me today to see if I had heard about the “new” Lead Safe Certification Training required to do work for the DOE Weatherization Program.

I was familiar with the Weatherization Program through PATH and DOE, and we all know about the WAP after it was announced by Vice President Biden in November. Plus, these energy initiatives were the recent topic of discussion between the Window and Door Dealers Alliance and the DOE in a friendly sit-down in Washington.

Mark remembered we covered DOE’s apparent involvement in a article December 15, 2010 when we were the first to alert everyone that the DOE and their Weatherization Program was including a lead safe requirement. Now Mark had been called by a few of the 3,000 or so window contractors he trained in RRP.  They were told they needed two more days of training (one classroom, one hands-on) so they would be qualified in Lead Safe Weatherization, and wondered if Access Training Services, Inc. provided the necessary training.

Here’s what we learned about Weatherization Training and Certification in Pennsylvania: all individuals performing weatherization work paid for with Department of Energy federal funding must be certified.

The Department of Labor & Industry distributes funding for the training and certification of weatherization workers; the Department of Community and Economic Development distributes funding to weatherization assistance provider agencies across the state who employ weatherization workers and complete energy-saving repairs to peoples' homes.

This is not EPA based training. Nor is it HUD or OSHA. It’s the Department of Energy (which has its Energy Star Program administered by EPA). To briefly summarize the DOE Lead Certification Requirements: all individuals, including specialized subcontractors, working on DOE-sponsored weatherization projects must have taken a lead-safe course that meets DOE lead-safe standards as outlined in Weatherization Program Notice 08-6 and Weatherization Program Notice 09-6, and Weatherization Program Notice 10-1. Notice the absence of the letters RRP.
Pennsylvania WAP states on its website that the DOE Lead course currently offered by the weatherization training providers meets this requirement.

Additionally, individuals who can show proof of completion of a course that meets the standards outlined in the Department of Energy's Weatherization Program Notice 08-06 will be considered as having DOE Lead Certification. They add, finally, that EPA Lead-Safe courses are different from DOE Lead Safety courses, and completion of an EPA Lead-Safe course may not satisfy the DOE Lead Safety requirement. For those of you interested in the Pennsylvania Program, please see Form E of the Pennsylvania Weatherization Worker Application, or call the Weatherization Training Office at (717) 772-8623.

Apparently, this is not just a requirement in Pennsylvania. It has been part of the DOE Weatherization initiative since 2001. The DOE has felt for a long time that integrating lead safety into the ongoing work of weatherization program contractors has the multiple benefits of reducing energy costs, improving the indoor climate, reducing lead hazards in the homes treated by the weatherization program, improving the safety of weatherization crew workers and their families, and protecting the safety of residents.

Adding lead-safe work practices to standards or specifications, expanding monitoring and inspections to address lead safety concerns, offering complete lead-safe work practices (LSWP) training within the weatherization training program, subsidizing risk assessor training, and providing an XRF analyzer for each local weatherization program would go along way to achieving the goal of ridding pre-1978 homes of lead paint.

The Department of Energy requires its state-level grantees to ensure weatherization crews complete lead safety training if they will be working on homes built before 1978. The DOE has felt all along that it is most efficient to have state weatherization agencies place, as a condition of federal weatherization funds disbursement, the fulfillment of the lead safe training requirement. The state can also incorporate into standard training any state-specific standards or other information.

The LSW course is a 2-day course, and can cost contractors between $600 and $1200. Currently, it is required in the majority of state weatherization program requirements.  In reading the documentation released by Vice President Biden in November, it is clear that it will be made part of every subsidized weatherization or energy retrofit project as part of the initiative he called “Cash for Caulkers”.

The LSW program now brings to four Federally Mandated Lead Safe Programs: OSHA, HUD, DOE and EPA. Will your business card have enough room for the logos?

For more information and to get a perspective on the future of LSW requirements of the DOE, visit The Weatherization Assistance Program Technical Assistance Center — A DOE-sponsored site for weatherization programs that describes LSWP training and the existing DOE requirement to complete training.

Weatherization Training Centers (14 states)

Pennyslvania’s website on LSW