Poyner Spruill LLP

Ever been tempted to binge watch episodes of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ “Fixer Upper”, HGTV’s popular home improvement show? Of course you have. Apparently, so have agents of the Environmental Protection Agency.

After watching “several seasons of ‘Fixer Upper’,” the EPA charged the couple’s business entity, Magnolia Construction, with violations of lead-based paint exposure regulations. To settle the EPA’s charges, the couple’s company accepted a fine of $40,000. Additionally, they agreed to spend a further $160,000 to assist with the abatement of lead-based paint hazards in residences in their hometown of Waco, Texas.

Chip and Joanna provide an excellent example of why posting video of business operations should be subjected to careful legal and security review prior to release. Once your video is “out there”, it’s not coming back. Further, you cannot control who’s watching. Certainly, you have a target audience, but your viewership might also contain EPA investigators, OSHA compliance officers, licensing board members and local government inspectors, just to name a few in the construction industry. Every business and industry has its watchdogs; beware of the dog!