The Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) oversees training with employees or volunteers who handle, work with, or clean up hazardous materials. Following OSHA’s regulations, the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) sets forth strict policies for workers to follow.
Ultimately, it’s the goal to protect the worker’s health while handling these materials. Through training, workers learn how to safely handle the materials and how to respond in case of an emergency.
Three types of organizations requiring this kind of training exist. They are:
Companies that dispose of, store, or treat hazardous materials, such as a landfill/recycling center or hospital.
Non-profit agencies that clean sites that test positive for hazardous waste or following catastrophic events.
Workers that clean up after unplanned situations like vehicle accidents or chemical leaks within a factory.
The amount of training involved depends on the worker’s schedule and job duties. Most programs require 24 or 48 hours of training.
Training for Full-Time Workers
Full-time workers receive 40 hours of off-site certification training. It’s also required by OSHA that they gain three days of experience in the field under the direction of a supervisor with HAZWOPER certification.
When a job requires a respirator, HAZWOPER policies state an additional 16 hours of off-site training become necessary. Plus, you receive two days of on-the-job training.
Supervisors who oversee workers in the field need 40 hours of off-site training and three days of field training. In addition, they must complete eight hours of specialized HAZWOPER training.
Eight hours of refresher training keeps your certification current.
Training for Part-Time Workers and Volunteers
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) volunteers require 24 hours of training. It’s important that the site be RCRA licensed and has a written plan in place that meets OSHA requirements.
Workers who plan to be at the site periodically only need 24 hours of off-site training and a day of field experience. Once you hold certification, eight hours of yearly refresher courses ensure you maintain certification.
What Do Courses Cover?
Each program differs slightly due to the length of the course, but topics often cover:
Handling on-site equipment properly
Knowing company policies for handling emergencies
Recognizing symptoms from exposure with hazardous materials
Techniques for avoiding hazards
Using safety gear correctly
Refresher courses go over the latest news and procedures. They also retouch on the important aspects learned in the 24- or 40-hour courses.
How Do I Find a Program?
HAZWOPER training programs take place online and in some OSHA Training Institute Education Centers. Online courses offer convenience and flexible scheduling.
It’s important to make sure that the course you take meets OSHA’s standards. Our online HAZWOPER certification courses are OSHA compliant. Sign up today.