HAZWOPER Regulations & Requirements Guide

Posted On: March 26, 2018
Classifying spills - hazwoper compliance

HAZWOPER or Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response are OSHA guidelines that protect workers who are exposed to dangerous materials on the job. According to its compliance regulations, personnel who are involved in the storage, treatment, cleanup and disposal of hazardous substances are entitled to HAZWOPER training Unless an employer can prove that the operations do not expose workers to harmful substances, the rules apply to their business. Some of the operations that are susceptible to these regulations include:

  • Cleanup operations that are supervised by a government authority or are voluntary which are responsible for the removal of uncontrolled hazards on the job.
  • Operations that deal with hazardous waste treatment, disposal and storage
  • Any sites that are covered by RCRA or the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and require cleanup of hazardous material.

What Is a Hazard?

According to HAZWOPER, a hazard applies to any response activity where there are uncontrolled hazardous substances or where their release is imminent. Some of the emergencies that are covered by the standard include:

  • Threat of fatalities or serious injuries
  • Situations pertaining to an oxygen deprived environment
  • Evacuations
  • High concentrations of toxic substances

Spills are categorized according to the threat level. For instance, an incidental spill is a release of chemicals that do not affect the health or workers responsible for its cleanup. These situations are easy to deal with and don’t have the potential to turn into emergencies. Such conditions can be contained by trained personnel who are familiar with the material they have to handle. The difference between an emergency and incidental spill also depends on the facility of origin. This includes contingency plans, training, response and PPE available. However, incidental releases are limited in toxicity and quantity which is why they do not come under any HAZWOPER regulations.

HAZWOPER Requirements for On-Site Workers

Utility workers who have to work in hazardous waste sites that have not been characterized but which are contaminated are protected by HAZWOPER. As per regulations, the workers have to work under a supervisor and with a site safety plan in place. The plan should be created as per standard to be applicable. If on the other hand, site characterization shows that the area is free of potential danger or hazardous material, a lower degree of PPE and training may be acceptable. If the site the personnel are working in will not result in potential exposure and the work assignments will not create a harmful environment, site activities can be carried out as normal.

HAZWOPER Training Programs

HAZWOPER training programs are divided into 24-hour and 40 hour modules and each covers various aspects of operations dealing with hazardous waste. This is important since HAZWOPER training needs to be relevant to various aspects of hazardous waste operations. The 24-hour training program is suitable for personnel who are engaged in field operations such as supervisors. Individuals who complete the course will be able to:

  • Determine toxicology principles
  • Describe medical concerns for working in confined areas
  • Identify hazardous materials
  • Describe various considerations in emergencies.

The 40-hour training course on the other hand has to be supplemented with an additional 3 days of field experience under supervision. Personnel who complete this course will be able to:

  • Determine different types of radiation
  • Describe basic hazards of radiation
  • Determine the use of different respiratory equipment
  • Understand and explain decontaminating principles.
  • Determine air monitoring methods

As mentioned before, the training should be relevant to the job description of the employee. Otherwise, training levels might overlap which will waste time and resources.

HAZWOPER Certification Training from OSHAcampus® by 360training

Protect your workers before it is too late and you are fined by OSHA. Sign up for the HAZWOPER course via 360Training.com. The program is covered under OSHA 29 CFR standards for personnel who are exposed to harmful substances or are involved in its cleanup, storage, treatment or disposal. Sign up for the 8 hour, 24 hour or 40 hour long courses as per job requirements and take the course whenever you want. Since the program is based online, you can take it at your leisure. Sign up today.

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