FHWA Policy Memorandums - Office of Engineering

INFORMATION: Pre-bid Conferences On
Lead-Based Paint Abatement
March 18, 1994
Director, Office of Engineering HNG-21
Regional Federal Highway Administrators
Division Administrators
Federal Lands Highway Program Administrator

Please refer to Mr. Thomas O. Willett's March 26 and June 14, 1993, memoranda regarding lead-based paint removal and related worker health and safety issues. Beginning with projects authorized on or after June 1, 1993, our policy has been to require that States conduct pre-bid conferences for all Federal-aid highway projects that involve the removal of lead-based paint systems. At that time, the issues affecting construction workers and potential impacts upon the environment were gaining national recognition and action to educate the highway industry was warranted. Over the last year, several Federal and State agencies and private organizations have implemented their initiatives to address these issues.

In October 1992, former President Bush signed the "Housing and Community Development Act of 1992," Public Law 102-550. One of the law's provisions required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to promulgate regulations governing lead-based paint activities to ensure that contractor personnel engaged in these activities are properly trained, training programs are accredited, and contractors engaged in such activities are certified. In order to fulfill these requirements, the EPA has been working diligently on the development of a model contractor training and certification program. The EPA expects to make the program available for comment later this year. The proposed regulations will provide minimum requirements for accreditation of training providers, training curriculum, training hours, hands-on training, trainee competency and proficiency criteria, and training program quality control.

In addition to the training requirements, Public Law 102-550 also required the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations governing occupational exposure to lead in the construction industry. As a result, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)has published an interim final regulation

(29 CFR 1926.62) governing lead abatement activities in the construction industry. This interim final regulation addresses a number of worker safety and health issues that had not previously been required for highway related work. The regulation's effective date was June 3, 1993, and it is applicable to all new Federal-aid construction projects which include lead abatement activities. In a related activity, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Technical Committee for Structural Steel Design has completed its work on a technical guide for painting structural steel. The guide covers all technical aspects of removing and replacing existing paint systems and includes worker health and safety requirements. We expect the guide to be formally adopted by AASHTO later this year.

Also, the Structural Steel Painting Council (SSPC) has developed formalized training on related worker health and safety issues. This material has been incorporated into their current contractor training and certification programs. Currently, several States require SSPC certification as a prerequisite for bidding on bridge painting contracts.

The widespread publicity and implementation of the new OSHA regulation combined with the numerous Federal, State, and private industry related activities now underway will meet the same objectives as those established for pre-bid conferences. We believe that if we continue requiring pre-bid conferences, it would not provide any significant "added value." Therefore, our policy to require their use is rescinded.

State and local highway agencies should continue to identify the existence of lead-based paint and take steps to ensure that all bidders are aware of its existence prior to submitting their bids. We continue to support the use of pre-bid conferences in those circumstances where both the division office and the State highway agency believe it is warranted.

All questions regarding this matter should be directed to Mr. Joseph Huerta, Construction and Maintenance Division, (202) 366-1556.

William A. Weseman

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