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HAZWOPER Training Explained

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Safety at the workplace should be a priority for every business. Often, it may also mean the difference between a year of profits and one of lawsuits and penalties. For workers, when the industry that you’re in puts you at risk for coming in contact with hazardous substances and wastes, then the HAZWOPER training is for you.

What is the HAZWOPER?
HAZWOPER is an acronym for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response. Simply put, it is a set of standards that regulate operations dealing with hazardous waste and emergency services in the United States and other U.S. Territories. Established and maintained by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, HAZWOPER is applicable to five groups of employers and their respective employees who are either exposed or have a risk of exposure to substances that are deemed hazardous, and who are involved in any one of the following operations:

1. Clean-up operations as required by a federal, state, local, or other governmental body that involve hazardous substances and which are conducted at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.

2. Corrective actions that involve 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.).

3. Voluntary clean-up operations at sites that are recognized by a governmental body – whether federal, state, local, or other – as uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.

4. Operations which involve hazardous wastes that are conducted at storage, treatment, and disposal facilities regulated by Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 264 and 265 pursuant to RCRA, or by agencies which are under agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to implement RCRA regulations.

5. Emergency response operations for any releases of hazardous substances, or substantial threats of releases thereof, regardless of the location of the hazard.

Why should you be trained?
As per OSHA HAZWOPER standards, all employees who work on site (along with their supervisors and management personnel responsible for the work site) and are exposed or will be exposed to hazardous substances or safety and health hazards shall receive training that meet the HAZWOPER standards. This should be done and completed prior to them being permitted to be involved in operations that could expose them to hazardous substances, or safety and health hazards. The HAZWOPER standards also includes employees receiving review training, and outlines specific requirements for workers to comply. 

HAZWOPER Trainings available
As a general rule, on site workers who perform activities that definitely or potentially exposes them to hazardous substances and health and safety hazards are required to complete a 40 hour hazwoper training class. Employees who do not regularly work on site but rather visit occasionally for specific and limited tasks are required to receive a minimum of 24-hours of training and instruction before being permitted to engage in emergency response or hazardous waste operation activities. Additionally, both employees and upper management personnel such as managers and supervisors may undergo an 8-hour refresher once a year.

Safety training is necessary for every employee and business owner. Not only does it protect the employees’ health and life, being properly trained also benefits the company as well.

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