HAZWOPER – What, Who, Why, How and When
Workers in manufacturing or warehousing who handle hazardous wastes must receive initial and ongoing training
If your workers handle hazardous waste, you need to know about HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Reponse), what it is and why you need it.
Introduction to HAZWOPER
The term was originally coined as HAZWOP (Hazardous Waste Operations), the United States Department of Defense’s hazardous waste clean-up program used on military bases where hazardous wastes had stockpiled following WWII. As the program has evolved and grown, HAZWOPER has come to be used to describe OSHA required training in Hazardous Waste regulations.
Distinctly specified types of site
This HAZWOPER standard is found in OSHA regulations on operations specified in section 1910.120 (a) (1) (i-v) and 1926.65 (a) (1) (i-v). It denotes five distinct groups of employers and their employees, including any employees who are exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances — including hazardous waste.
- Corrective actions – with 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 specified by federal, state, local, or other governmental body as uncontrolled hazardous waste sites;
- Operations involving hazardous wastes – 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;
These standards set out training requirements for site security, site controls, employee safety, and site logs. The standard’s purpose is to protect the public, the environment, the site, and workers from vandalism and unsafe practices that threaten the public and environment, as well as worker safety.
Levels of training
There are multiple training levels within the HAZWOPER regulation, based on what function workers are performing and level of hazard involved. Each level has specific topics and minimum training times that must be met.
- General site workers: 40 instructional hours, 3 days hands-on training, 8 hours annual refresher training
- Task specific: 24 instructional hours, 1 day hands-on; 8 hours annual refresher training
- Manager/Supervisor: Same as those supervised +8 hrs initial training. Identical supervised and annual training
Areas covered in training
HAZWOPER training covers 18 different points of information. Some levels overlap other levels in the training points covered due to the duties and responsibilities each level of training requires. Key training topics include:
- Hazard Evaluation
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
- Engineering Controls
- Legal and Regulatory Aspects
How to get training
Using OSHA HAZWOPER training requirements, you can set up your own training program using commercially prepared materials, or choose to hire a safety education manager who is skilled and certified in doing HAZWOPER training, or any qualified combination in-between.
To get more information on training requirements, please click on one of the links below:
- Occupational Safety and Health Guidance Manual for Hazardous Waste Site Activities
- HAZWOPER FAQ’s
- Hazardous Waste Operations – OSHA Federal Registers
- Flammable Liquid Safety Cabinets
Scott Stone is Cisco-Eagle's Marketing Director with three decades of experience in material handling, warehousing and industrial operations. He writes on automation, warehousing, safety, manufacturing and other areas of concern for industrial operations.