HAZWOPER OSHA

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Main Differences Between the HAZWOPER 40-Hour and 24-Hour Training Programs

We have all heard of OSHA, and often hear mention of HAZWOPER in conjunction. So, what is HAZWOPER? HAZWOPER stands for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response and is a significant set of regulations developed by OSHA for the health and safety of personnel employed in hazardous waste operations as well as emergency response personnel who may be called in instances of the release of a toxic substance or related accidents, and those involved in cleaning up hazardous waste sites.

Of course, as part of the requirements of the HAZWOPER standard, OSHA requires employers to train employees before starting work in hazardous waste operations and retrain them annually thereafter. OSHA has identified several levels of HAZWOPER training depending on the employee’s job tasks and responsibilities. However, the most sought after and popular HAZWOPER training remains the initial HAZWOPER 40 Hour training and the initial HAZWOPER 24 Hour training.

Still, the differences and who should enroll for, and take which of these two courses can be confusing for many of us. This article puts into context the main differences between the 40-hour and 24-hour HAZWOPER training and provides guidance to enable a clearer understanding of the appropriate online training course to take.

40 Hour HAZWOPER Training vs. 24 Hour HAZWOPER Training

40 Hour HAZWOPER 24 Hour HAZWOPER
Who Should Take the Course? General site workers who are engaged in hazardous material removal or other activities that could expose or potentially expose them to hazardous substances.

Workers who are exposed to contaminated substances at hazardous waste sites that exceed the Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) and hence, must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Workers who are engaged in the storage and treatment of hazardous substances.

General site workers who come in contact with hazardous substances occasionally and are not involved in hazardous waste clean-up operations.

Workers who work at hazardous sites occasionally for a specified task and are not exposed to hazardous substances at or above the Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs).

Workers who are regularly on hazardous waste site but work in areas which have been monitored and fully characterized, meaning the hazard exposures at these work sites are declared to be under PELs and published exposure limits

Why is HAZWOPER Training Important?
  • To comply with OSHA requirements.
  • To comply with State and employer requirements.
  • Because you work with hazardous substances occasionally and must be aware of the prevalent hazards and protections.
  • To safeguard your health in case of an emergency.
  • To prevent accidents and injuries to yourself and others.
  • To comply with OSHA requirements.
  • To comply with State and employer requirements.
  • Because you work with hazardous substances regularly and must know what type of PPE to use and how to properly use PPE.
  • To safeguard your health in case of an emergency.
  • To prevent accidents and injuries to yourself and others.
  • To ensure the safety of employees involved in cleanup operations on hazardous sites.
Topics Covered Topics covered for both training programs are similar. The difference is in the details and depth of the information contained in each of the courses.
Course Content
  • Understanding of the regulations and OSHA HAZWOPER standard, the importance of an effective workplace health and safety plan, as well as how to identify potentially hazardous situations, classify hazards, and characterize work sites.
  • An explanation of the basic principles of toxicology, chemical exposure, decontamination, confined spaces, and the components of an effective Medical Surveillance Program.
  • An understanding of the uses of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and how to identify and select the correct PPE related to a particular worksite.
  • An understanding of the various considerations in an emergency and the training and actions needed for personnel safety and the safety of others.
  • How to recognize the hazard detection and monitoring tools available to the worker.
  • To comply with OSHA requirements.
  • New workers employed in hazardous waste operations.
  • Workers involved in groundwater monitoring, land surveying, or geophysical surveying and expected to work on a hazardous waste site.
  • On-site incident commanders
  • On-site managers and supervisors directly responsible for, or who supervise employees.
  • Anyone needing to fulfill the 24-hour HAZWOPER training requirement.
Examples of Workers who require the HAZWOPER certification
  • Workers who handle contaminated waste, soil, water, etc.
  • Workers who handle tanks that store/treat and pipes which pump in/out contaminated waste.
  • Workers who may work near sites that release contaminated waste.
  • Workers who may work near sites that are contaminated such as hazardous waste treatment plants.
  • Clean-up operations crews of hazardous waste sites.
  • Workers who work with emergency response team which handle or may be exposed to contaminated substances.
  • Workers who work at a listed or proposed for listing site under the Superfund National Priority List (NPL).
  • Workers who conduct operations at corrective action sites under the purview of U.S. EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
  • New workers employed in hazardous waste operations.
  • Workers involved in groundwater monitoring, land surveying, or geophysical surveying and expected to work on a hazardous waste site.
  • On-site incident commanders
  • On-site managers and supervisors directly responsible for, or who supervise employees.
  • Anyone needing to fulfill the 24-hour HAZWOPER training requirement.
  • Technicians, assistants, specialists, and other workers involved in handling hazardous materials.
Is online training only enough? OSHA requires that workers must have 40-hours of initial online training and at least three days of actual field experience under the direct supervision of a trained, experienced supervisor. OSHA requires that workers must have 24-hours of initial online training and one day of actual field experience under the direct supervision of a trained, experienced supervisor.

Next Step: Online Training

Now that you understand the main differences between the 24-hour and 40-hour HAZWOPER training programs, the next step is comparatively easy. It is time to enroll in the appropriate online HAZWOPER training program.

Here are the links:

OSHA 40 Hour HAZWOPER Online Training Course

OSHA 24 Hour HAZWOPER Online Training Course

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