House passes bill to set safe standards for corrosion work on public projects


STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives today approved legislation sponsored by House Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chairman David A. Bennett to require all corrosion prevention and mitigation work on state-funded projects to comply with best-practice standards for that industry.

“Obviously, the better we can do to prevent and addressing corrosion, the more value we get out of our infrastructure projects. But it’s also important to make sure the people doing that work know how to do it safely. Sometimes they are working on structures that involve hazardous materials, often old lead paint. Handling those materials improperly is dangerous to the workers, the public and the environment,” said Representative Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston).

The bill (222-H 6613A) would have the Department of Labor and Training in consultation with the Department of Environmental Management set standards for performance of corrosion prevention and mitigation work on public projects that reflect industry best practices. At minimum, those standards must include the use of trained and certified personnel for surface preparation and application of protective coatings and linings to steel; the use of inspectors to ensure best practices and standards are met; and the creation of a plan to prevent environmental degradation, including careful handling and containment of hazardous materials such as lead paint.

The bill requires that those standards would be adopted by Jan. 1, 2023, and then requires all contractors and subcontractors performing public works contracts to comply with them beginning Jan. 1, 2024.

The bill now goes to the Senate, which has passed companion legislation (2022-S 2303A) sponsored by Sen. Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence).