Regulations

EPA: Lead Paint Rule Won’t Be Changing

After completing a federally mandated two-year review of the economic impacts of the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in late April that there will be no changes to the regulation.

The RRP rule, which has been deeply unpopular among door and window companies since the EPA first published it in 2008, was reviewed under Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). It requires government agencies to determine “if provisions of a rule that are related to small entities should be continued without change, rescinded, or amended to minimize adverse economic impacts on small entities.” The 610 review for RRP began in June 2016.

After studying the rule, the EPA concluded that it should remain unchanged because “adverse health effects have been shown to occur at even lower blood lead levels than when the rule was first promulgated,” it wrote in its report on the Section 610 review. Additionally, the agency said industry complaints about the lack of an accurate test kit for lead paint don’t outweigh the economic benefits of the program.

Despite a false-positive rate of 63 percent to 84 percent for EPA-recognized test kits, the agency estimates that the annual cost of the RRP program is roughly $1 billion, while the benefits of the rule are roughly $1.5 billion to $5 billion.

“Thus, the available evidence indicates that the benefits of the RRP rule continue to exceed its costs even if lead test kits meeting the positive response criterion are not available in the foreseeable future,” the agency wrote in its report.

EPA also refused to reinstate the opt-out provision, which was part of the original regulation in 2008 but was removed in 2010. It allowed home-owners to opt out of the requirements if no child under age six or pregnant woman was in the residence.

EPA said reinstating the opt-out provision “would make the RRP rule less protective and effective.”

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), one of several industry organizations seeking changes to the rule, was not pleased with the decision.

“We are disappointed with the results of the 610 review, but are not surprised,” said WDMA president and CEO Michael O’Brien. “EPA’s response to the continued implementation issues raised by WDMA over the years has been unsatisfactory. The suggestions we provided to EPA during the review process were reasonable and were wholly compatible with EPA’s statutory objective of protecting pregnant women and children under six from lead exposure. WDMA will continue working with EPA and Congress to address these issues, including any proposal to expand the rule to public and commercial buildings.”

Operations

Quaker Opens New Wood Door and Window Facility

Quaker Windows and Doors opened a new manufacturing facility in January to produce wood doors and windows for the residential and commercial markets. The 185,000-square-foot facility in Vienna, Mo., allows for greater production capacity and features new automation equipment, conveyor systems, and an expanded area for paint and specialty products.

“This new facility not only creates additional production capacity for Quaker to stay out ahead of growing demand for our current family of wood products, but also allows us the space to roll out some very exciting new technology and a suite of innovative product solutions to meet the market’s ever-evolving needs and expectations later this year,” said Quaker CEO Kevin Blansett.

This plant is designed to add an additional 100,000 square feet in the future. It offers greater shipping capabilities, expanded parts and service support, along with enhanced capacity and productivity.

Blansett said opening a new wood manufacturing facility is part of Quaker’s strategic growth plan.

“We opened a new architectural and residential vinyl facility in March of 2016, expanded our insulating glass plant in 2017 and are currently expanding our ModernVu/M600 architectural aluminum door line in the former wood facility,” he said.

Rehau to Close Winnipeg Plant

Rehau announced in April that it will close its manufacturing plant in Winnipeg, Manitoba by the end of 2018.

“The decision to cease operations at our window profile extrusion plant in Winnipeg was difficult but necessary,” said Christian Fabian, CEO of Rehau Americas. “There is no realistic prospect for profitability, and therefore we have reached the unfortunate but inevitable decision to close this facility.”

The Winnipeg plant employs 75 workers. It provides profiles to a net-work of window manufacturers who supply vinyl windows to residential and commercial projects throughout Canada and the United States. After the plant closure, Rehau will manufacture an adjusted North American product portfolio that the company said will be focused on delivering technologically advanced designs.

Rehau said a “small number” of employees in the United States will also be affected by the closure. The company said that workers in Rehau’s other divisions, as well as the window solutions division in other regions of the Americas, will not be affected.

Rehau said that optimizing its global manufacturing network is a key part of the company’s group strategy, which involves focusing on core markets, increasing growth in developing and emerging markets such as Central and South America, and driving increased innovation.

Safety

Report: Most Workplaces Haven’t Filed OSHA Data

n May 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a controversial new rule that requires employers in high-hazard industries, including manufacturing and construction, to send injury and illness data to OSHA electronically every year. Enforcement began in late 2017, but a new report says most companies haven’t bothered to file the forms.

Bloomberg Environment recently reported that nearly 200,000 workplaces didn’t submit Form 300A electronically by the December 31, 2017, deadline. OSHA had expected more than 350,000 reports. However, just 153,653 were submitted. Additionally, about 60,000 businesses that weren’t required to submit a form turned one in.

The December 31, 2017 deadline was for 2016 injury and illness data. 2017 data must be posted by July 1, 2018. OSHA has until June 15 to inspect workplaces for violations of the electronic reporting rule.

Form 300A is a summary of work-related injuries and illnesses that occurred at a workplace in the previous year. It includes individual reports that are recorded on Form 300: Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. Under the new rule, that information will be posted on a public website that will be accessible to anyone.

According to Bloomberg’s report, the information might not have been submitted because many companies don’t know if they’re exempt. The rule affects all establishments with more than 250 employees and establishments in high-risk industries with 20-249 employees. An establishment is defined as either an entire business or a unit of a business. Each establishment can submit data, or a corporation can submit all data from its units.

Terry Burkhalter, the vice president of risk control services with Willis Towers Watson, said he’s not surprised by the news.

“This has been a standard with a constantly changing effective date complicated by the fact that the agency’s director (FedEx executive Scott Mungo) is still awaiting congressional confirmation,” he said. “There are exemptions that do apply to some, and many still have valid privacy concerns. However, at this point compliance is expected.”

The new injury tracking rule was originally supposed to go into effect on July 1, 2017, but OSHA delayed enforcement until December 1, 2017, then extended it to December 15 and finally December 31.

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DWM Magazine

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