People who deal with hazardous materials in the workplace need to know how to interact with them safely. That’s why OSHA created its Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standards.
These standards lay out the legal obligations that employers must follow to protect their workers from the dangers of hazardous materials. You need to be familiar with these obligations so that you can avoid the hefty fines associated with ignoring them.
That’s why we’ve put together this article. It covers everything that you need to know about HAZWOPER training regulations so that you can make sure you’re covered.
OSHA HAZWOPER Regulations
OSHA’s HAZWOPER regulations are laid out for general industries in 29 CFR 1910.120 and for the construction industry in 29 CFR 1926.65.
Your specific obligations could vary some based on the industry you’re in and the nature of your business. But the bottom line is that most employers will need to offer their employees the following things to remain HAZWOPER compliant:
- HAZWOPER training
- A qualified supervisor to work under
- A comprehensive site safety plan
The idea behind all of this is that when employers follow the HAZWOPER standard, their employees face less risk when dealing with hazardous materials on the job.
HAZWOPER Training Standards
If you’re an employer who hires workers that interact with hazardous material, then one of the most important items on your to-do list is putting them through HAZWOPER training. You’ll need to get this done before allowing any individual employee to work with hazardous materials.
But the specific training standards you need to follow to remain compliant will vary based on the type of worker you employ. The legislation splits these workers into three distinct groups when it comes to training, and we’ll cover each of them in the sections below.
A site worker is an employee who works at a remediation site on a day-to-day basis. They typically deal with hazardous materials with some level of regularity.
These workers have a right to training that meets the following criteria:
- 40 hours of off-site instruction
- Three days of field experience under an experienced person
After completing this training, the employee should be able to perform the following tasks with minimal supervision:
- Determining different types of radiation
- Determining air monitoring methods
- Understanding basic decontamination methods
- Determining the use of different types of respiratory equipment
It’s also worth mentioning that the training requirements for occasional site workers differ from full-time site workers. If employees are only on-site periodically, they only need 24 hours of HAZWOPER training.
Occasional site workers tend not to deal with hazardous materials as frequently or as directly as on-site employees who are hired explicitly with that purpose in mind.
TSD is an acronym that stands for treatment, storage, and disposal. Employees who work at TSD facilities have special HAZWOPER regulation requirements for training.
The program takes 24 hours to complete and is designed specifically to address the skills and knowledge someone who works at a TSD facility needs to safely and efficiently fulfill their job requirements.
There are also special HAZWOPER training regulations for emergency response workers. These training requirements are detailed in 29 CFR 1910.120(q)(6).
The type of training that emergency response workers need to go through depends on the specific work they do. Employees are split into the following levels, each of which has its own training requirements:
- First Responder Awareness – Level 1
- First Responder Operations – Level 2
- Hazardous Materials Technician – Level 3
- Hazardous Materials Specialist – Level 4
- Incident Commander – Level 5
The higher the level of an emergency response worker, the more training they typically need. When you reach the level of Incident Commander, the employee can only earn their certification by passing a competency exam.
HAZWOPER Annual Refresher Requirements
The other significant HAZWOPER standard is for annual refresher requirements. Nearly every worker who qualifies for HAZWOPER training also needs to undergo a yearly refresher to maintain their trained status.
Refresher courses are a minimum of eight hours long, and they essentially just go back over the main points that the employee learned about in their initial training.
Employers need to be proactive about refreshing their employees’ HAZWOPER training status. If an employee doesn’t receive refresher training in a timely manner, your compliance with HAZWOPER regulations will lapse – and that could open you up to some hefty fines.
HAZWOPER Physical Exam Requirements
Most employees who go through HAZWOPER training also need to complete a HAZWOPER physical exam before becoming certified.
This test features several components and is designed to ensure that individuals who work with hazardous materials are physically able to do so without endangering their health.
The HAZWOPER physical exam must contain the following tests:
- Blood and urine samples
- Hearing test
- Chest X-Ray
- Hepatitis B test (plus the vaccination)
- Respiratory fitness testing
- Pulmonary function test
Once an employee has completed their initial training and passed the physical exam, they’re ready to begin dealing with hazardous materials in the workplace.
Schedule Your On-Site HAZWOPER Training
Do you have employees that need to complete their HAZWOPER training? If so, Salvation Safety is here to help.
We provide a wide variety of safety training and consulting services to the Power Generation sector, such as power plants, oil and gas, and renewable energy.
Whether you need HAZWOPER training for an entire team or just a few individuals, we can quickly get you set up with the high-quality instruction that you need to meet your OSHA obligations and make your workplace a safer place to be.
We even offer annual refresher courses to help you make sure that your team’s training is always up-to-date and you never face fines for falling out of compliance.
Ready to get started? Contact Salvation Safety to schedule your on-site HAZWOPER training today.