What is HAZWOPER Training And Who Requires It?


HAZWOPER stands for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response; it comes under the authority of OSHA. HAZWOPER provides a clear guideline for employees and employers of any hazardous waste site, and its training is covered under OSHA standard 1910.120. HAZWOPER offers safe working regulations for any waste site, and the workers follow the set of rules for proper handling, storing, transporting, cleaning, disposing, and other responsibilities for waste materials.

The Environmental Protection Agency Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 laid the foundation for HAZWOPER regulations and training. With the joint struggle of OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency, new guidelines form in the year 1984. HAZWOPER rules and regulations have continued to update over the years according to changes in technology and information.


Any form of waste material (liquid, gas, and solid) can be dangerous, and these substances are hazardous for humans and as well as for the environment. This waste can come from many different sources, and it can be a waste of laboratories, trash disposal sites, mining sites, mineral and agricultural sites, and more.


HAZWOPER standards applied to five different groups of employees and employers. Among these employees are those who are exposed or have the possibility of exposing to hazardous materials. Workers involved in dealing, storing, or disposing of dangerous materials along with emergency operational services employees. And also any worker who has to perform duty at any waste material site. Workers who come under the HAZWOPER standard are supposed to be trained and protected. OSHA sets five standards which are defined below:

  • Clean-up operations are required by a governmental body, whether federal, state, local, or other involving hazardous substances. That conducted at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
  • Corrective actions involving cleaning operations at sites come under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA).
  • Voluntary Clean-up operations at sites recognized by federal, state, local, or other governmental bodies as uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
  • Operations involving hazardous wastes that are conducted at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities regulates by Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 264 and 265 under RCRA. Or by agencies under agreement with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement RCRA regulations.
  • Emergency response operations for releasing any combustible substances, regardless of the location of the hazard.

For easy understanding, any place or work comes under OSHA HAZWOPER requirements. It has toxic material with a high concentration or Imminent Danger to Life and Health (IDLH) or creates a situation that requires an evacuation of the area,


OSHA provided a few types of training courses for hazardous the first is the 40-hour HAZWOPER training course, second is the 8-hour HAZWOPER training course, and the 24-hours HAZWOPER training course. An employee, who is getting the HAZWOPER training for the first time, needs to do a 40-hours training course. When a person did a 40-hours training course, he only needs to refresh his training course by attempting 8-hours courses every year. The 24-hour courses are only applicable for those who work part-time or have to respond to emergency cases.

These training courses are designed and recommended by OSHA, and they all are certified courses. The HAZWOPER training courses certification is valid for only one year, and each certificate is different according to the job requirement. As with other OSHA training courses, HAZWOPER training courses are available online, and an employee or employer can take the training according to their own time. These online courses are interactive, fully narrated, and every student will know how to comply with hazard management and hazardous waste regulations under OSHA standards.

Online training may meet some refresher training requirements, provided that it covers topics relevant to worker assigned duties. It must be supplemented by the opportunity to ask questions of a qualified trainer and by an assessment of the hands-on performance of work tasks, as OSHA stated.


One must understand that HAZWOPER training is not for every worker. This training is only for those workers who have to deal with materials and chemicals that can be uncontrollable if treated wrongly. That is why the keyword for HAZWOPER is uncontrolled.

Any site or area can announce as a hazardous site and a threat to the health and safety of individuals or the environment by a government and not necessarily that which level of government (federal, state, or local) identify this.

Now, who needs the HAZWOPER training includes the workers who work in areas where oxygen is scarce, the employee who works as a cleaning operator in one of the hazardous waste sites. An employee who does the maintenance or removal of underground infrastructure, like pipes or tanks. Employees handle combustible waste and even work in an area which the government acknowledged as Imminent Danger to Life and Health (IDLH), and more.

HAZWOPER is designed to reduce the risks of chemical exposure to workers employed in one of three specific activities:

  • Uncontrolled hazardous waste site operators

Uncontrolled waste site operators are that persons who must enter a site of chemical contamination to perform cleaning and remediation duties. Often, the chemical contaminant identity and concentration will be unknown initially.

  • Treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF) personnel

TSDF personnel is those workers employed at a controlled waste facility but who will receive waste from uncontrolled sites for treatment.

  • Emergency responders

Emergency responders are subject to different training requirements from waste site operators and TSDF personnel, as they must respond quickly to stabilize an emergency. Once a chemical situation stabilizes, then post-response operations are covered, and following stabilization, this is now an uncontrolled waste site.

  • Safety Managers

Safety trainers and worksite managers of environmental cleanup sites must have at least 40 hours of safety training, per OSHA requirements. Plus, they need to go through three days of field training. Each year, safety trainers and safety managers also need to attempt eight hours to refresh their HAZWOPER certificate and keep it active.

Safety trainers need to take a Train the Trainer course. This course prepares them to become supervisors for experiential training and conduct the classroom portion of HAZWOPER teaching. As with other forms of HAZWOPER training, safety managers who take the Train the Trainer course will also need to supplement it with experiential hours outside the classroom and in the field. These hours ensure that trainers know how to put on PPE, identify issues and handle hazardous waste while guiding others to do the same.

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