What Is HAZWOPER? Who Needs HAZWOPER Training (and When)?

HAZWOPER is the term used to describe Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard by OSHA (29 CFR Part 1910.120). Because of hazardous waste’s significant threat to workers’, public and environmental health, OSHA’s HAZWOPER standard was issued to protect workers engaged in hazardous waste clean-up and emergency response operations.

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HAZWOPER is the term used to describe Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard by OSHA (29 CFR Part 1910.120). According to Pete Rice, Certified Safety Professional and Industrial Hygienist, hazardous substances are “a serious safety and health problem that continues to endanger human and animal lives and the environment. Discarded hazardous substances or hazardous waste that is toxic, flammable or corrosive can cause fires, explosions and pollution of air, water, and land. Unless hazardous wastes are properly treated, stored or disposed of, they will continue to do great harm to livings things that contact them now or in the future.”

Because of such significant threat to workers’, public and environmental health, OSHA’s HAZWOPER standard was issued to protect workers engaged in hazardous waste clean-up and emergency response operations. OSHA also provides guidance of conditions that are considered emergency situations requiring an emergency response effort, including:

  • High concentrations of toxic substances
  • Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) environments
  • Situations that present an oxygen deficient atmosphere
  • Conditions that pose a fire or explosion hazard
  • Situations that require an evacuation of the area
  • Situations that require immediate attention because of the danger posed to employees in the area

This standard applies to five distinct groups of employers and their employees, including those exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances and engaged in one of the following operations as specified by 1910.120(a)(1)(i-v) and 1926.65(a)(1)(i-v):

  • Clean-up operations required by a governmental body, whether federal, state, local, or other involving hazardous substances that are conducted at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites
  • Corrective actions involving clean-up operations at sites covered by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) as amended (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.)
  • Voluntary clean-up operations at sites recognized by federal, state, local, or other governmental body as uncontrolled hazardous waste sites
  • Operations involving hazardous wastes that are conducted at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities regulated by Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 264 and 265 pursuant to RCRA, or by agencies under agreement with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement RCRA regulations
  • Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances regardless of the location of the hazard

Mr. Rice also suggests the following required elements of HAZWOPER safety and health program:

  • Overall organizational structure
  • Comprehensive work plan
  • Site-specific safety and health plan (often referred to as a SSHP)
  • Safety and health training program
  • Medical surveillance program
  • Standard operating procedures (SOP)

All general site workers must complete 40 hours of basic training and at least eight hours of annual refresher training. On site supervisors and managers require additional certification, while the rules for emergency responders are more rigorous and there are a few exemptions to these training requirements.

For more information on training requirements and more HAZWOPER frequently asked questions and answers, click below:

free-osha-hazwoper-standard-hazwoper-hazwoper-training-requirement-guide

Author: clicksafetyblog

ClickSafety Blog is a collection of relevant, informative and easy-to-digest articles around the topic of safety and health in the workplace. Its authors are passionate safety professionals at ClickSafety, Inc., an Ascend Learning company, founded in 1999 and the first OSHA Outreach Training Provider to deliver both the OSHA 10-Hour and OSHA 30-Hour safety training courses online.

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