Keeping Workers Safe with HAZWOPER Training

OSHA Hazardous Waste Disposal Regulations

• Part Number: 1910
• Part Title: Occupational Safety and Health Standards
• Subpart:
• Subpart Title: Hazardous Materials
• Standard Number: 1910.120 App C
• Title: Compliance guidelines.
• GPO Source:

1. Occupational Safety and Health Program. Each hazardous waste site clean-up effort will require a site specific occupational safety and health program headed by the site coordinator or the employer's representative. The purpose of the program will be the protection of employees at the site and will be an extension of the employer's overall safety and health program work. The program will need to be developed before work begins on the site and implemented as work proceeds as stated in paragraph (b). The program is to facilitate coordination and communication of safety and health issues among personnel responsible for the various activities which will take place at the site. It will provide the overall means for planning and implementing the needed safety and health training and job orientation of employees who will be working at the site. The program will provide the means for identifying and controlling worksite hazards and the means for monitoring program effectiveness. The program will need to cover the responsibilities and authority of the site coordinator for the safety and health of employees at the site, and the relationships with contractors or support services as to what each employer's safety and health responsibilities are for their employees on the site. Each contractor on the site needs to have its own safety and health program so structured that it will smoothly interface with the program of the site coordinator or principal contractor.

Also those employers involved with treating, storing or disposal of hazardous waste as covered in paragraph (p) must have implemented a safety and health program for their employees. This program is to include the hazard communication program required in paragraph (p)(1) and the training required in paragraphs (p)(7) and (p)(8) as parts of the employers comprehensive overall safety and health program. This program is to be in writing.

Each site safety and health program will need to include the following: (1) Policy statements of the line of authority and accountability for implementing the program, the objectives of the program and the role of the site safety and health officer or manager and staff; (2) means or methods for the development of procedures for identifying and controlling workplace hazards at the site; (3) means or methods for the development and communication to employees of the various plans, work rules, standard operating procedures and practices that pertain to individual employees and supervisors; (4) means for the training of supervisors and employees to develop the needed skills and knowledge to perform their work in a safe and healthful manner; (5) means to anticipate and prepare for emergency situations and; (6) means for obtaining information feedback to aid in evaluating the program and for improving the effectiveness of the program. The management and employees should be trying continually to improve the effectiveness of the program thereby enhancing the protection being afforded those working on the site.

Accidents on the site or workplace should be investigated to provide information on how such occurrences can be avoided in the future. When injuries or illnesses occur on the site or workplace, they will need to be investigated to determine what needs to be done to prevent this incident from occurring again. Such information will need to be used as feedback on the effectiveness of the program and the information turned into positive steps to prevent any reoccurrence. Receipt of employee suggestions or complaints relating to safety and health issues involved with site activities is also a feedback mechanism that can be used effectively to improve the program and may serve in part as an evaluative tool(s).

For the development and implementation of the program to be the most effective, professional safety and health personnel should be used. Certified Safety Professionals, Board Certified Industrial Hygienists or Registered Professional Safety Engineers are good examples of professional stature for safety and health managers who will administer the employer's program.

2. Training. The training programs for employees subject to the requirements of paragraph (e) of this standard should address: the safety and health hazards employees should expect to find on hazardous waste clean-up sites; what control measures or techniques are effective for those hazards; what monitoring procedures are effective in characterizing exposure levels; what makes an effective employer's safety and health program; what a site safety and health plan should include; hands on training with personal protective equipment and clothing they may be expected to use; the contents of the OSHA standard relevant to the employee's duties and function; and employee's responsibilities under OSHA and other regulations. Supervisors will need training in their responsibilities under the safety and health program and its subject areas such as the spill containment program, the personal protective equipment program, the medical surveillance program, the emergency response plan and other areas.

The training programs for employees subject to the requirements of paragraph (p) of this standard should address: the employer's safety and health program elements impacting employees; the hazard communication program; the hazards and the controls for such hazards that employees need to know for their job duties and functions. All require annual refresher training.

The training programs for employees covered by the requirements of paragraph (q) of this standard should address those competencies required for the various levels of response such as: the hazards associated with hazardous substances; hazard identification and awareness; notification of appropriate persons; the need for and use of personal protective equipment including respirators; the decontamination procedures to be used; preplanning activities for hazardous substance incidents including the emergency response plan; company standard operating procedures for hazardous substance emergency responses; the use of the incident command system and other subjects. Hands-on training should be stressed whenever possible. Critiques done after an incident which include an evaluation of what worked and what did not and how could the incident be better handled the next time may be counted as training time.

For hazardous materials specialists (usually members of hazardous materials teams), the training should address the care, use and/or testing of chemical protective clothing including totally encapsulating suits, the medical surveillance program, the standard operating procedures for the hazardous materials team including the use of plugging and patching equipment and other subject areas.

Officers and leaders who may be expected to be in charge at an incident should be fully knowledgeable of their company's incident command system. They should know where and how to obtain additional assistance and be familiar with the local district's emergency response plan and the state emergency response plan.

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