Hazardous Materials Training

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The benefits of modern civilization can frequently result in hazardous by-products. Handling this dangerous waste material in a safe manner requires specialized training. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was only eight years old, in 1978, when the Love Canal disaster and the "Valley of the Drums" disposal site emphasized the necessity for the control of hazardous materials.

OSHA used the standards for cleaning up military bases, such as Hanford where the A-Bomb was built, as a foundation. Along with other organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), OSHA developed the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standards. These standards apply to all companies and their employees who are involved in the cleanup operations of any kind of hazardous waste materials.

HAZWOPER sets forth several levels of training for workers based on their area of responsibility. Some parts of the training may be taken online, but each level also requires a certain amount of supervised hands-on experience before certification can be completed. The length of the HAZWOPER training course depends on the physical involvement in the clean up process.

The simplest level is a four-hour mini-course designed for first responders that defines potentially dangerous materials, teaches employees to recognize emergency situations, and to use the necessary procedures to report the problem to the proper authorities. This level can be expanded to the operations level for first responders whose function will be to contain any dangerous materials and prevent it from spreading. The operations job requires eight hours of training.

The next level of courses require a basic 24 hours of class time plus a day of hands-on, supervised, training. This program is required for any employee who visits a government mandated Uncontrolled Hazardous Waste Operations, such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In addition to showing the student various types of hazards in the cleanup operations, this course will also demonstrate methods of reducing or eliminating the dangers. Some situations may require additional specialized sessions for particular materials. To maintain their certification, employees must also take an annual eight-hour refresher course.

The most intensive level of training is the 40-hour General Site Worker course. It also requires three days of supervised on-site training and an annual eight-hour refresher course. This class is designed for workers that will potentially be exposed to hazardous materials in the routine performance of their jobs.

All HAZWOPER trainees are required to pass a written exam with a score of 70 percent or above before receiving certification.
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Christine Harrell has 1 articles online


Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information about HAZWOPER training, please visit http://www.natlenvtrainers.com/.

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This article was published on 2011/02/17