My firm drills a series of 1/2-inch diameter holes in sheet rock to dry it out where rooms have been flooded. Is drilling these holes a prohibited practice?
No. The requirement for HEPA exhaust control does not apply to the use of all power tools. Specifically, HEPA exhaust control is not required when using a power drill to drill holes in sheetrock. When using a power drill with a drill bit to cut through sheetrock, the speed associated with the contact between the bit and the paint is not of the same magnitude as the contact speed generated by the machines identified in the regulation. The RRP Rule prohibits the use of machines designed to remove paint or other surface coatings through high speed operation such as sanding, grinding, power planing, needle gun, abrasive blasting, or sandblasting, is prohibited on painted surfaces unless such machines have shrouds or containment systems and are equipped with a HEPA vacuum attachment to collect dust and debris at the point of generation. These machines must be operated so that no visible dust or release of air occurs outside the shroud or containment system.