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THE HISTORY OF

HAZWOPER
HAZARDOUS WASTE OPERATIONS AND
EMERGENCY RESPONSE

I NTRODUC TI ON
HAZWOPER stands for
Hazardous Waste Operations
and Emergency Response. Its a
set of standards developed by
OSHA that provides guidelines
to protect workers who deal
with hazardous materials, and to
help them handle hazardous
substances effectively.
HAZWOPER as we know it today
was codified in 1990, but there
were several important events
in the US in decades prior that
led to its creation.

R ESOURCE
C ONSERVATIO N AND
R ECOVERY A CT
( R C R A)
Starting in the 1940s, the
development of the atomic bomb
at the Hanford site in Washington
State and the leftover waste it
created necessitated a set of
guidelines for dealing with
hazardous by-products of nuclear
development.
In 1976, the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act
(RCRA) was passed to regulate the
creation, transport, and disposal
of hazardous material.

C OMPREHENS I VE E NVIRONME NTA L R ESPONSE ,


C OMPENSATI ON , AND L IABILITY A CT ( C ER C L A)
Events like the Love Canal and the
Valley of the Drums disasters of the
late 1970s in which hazardous
wastes were carelessly disposed of,
finding their way into water supplies
and harming nearby residents
spurred the government to action.
In 1980, Congress enacted the
Comprehensive Environmental
Response, Compensation, and
Liability Act (CERCLA) also known as
Superfund to deal with sites where
the polluter could not or would not
clean up their hazardous waste.

S UPERFUN D
A MENDMEN TS

AND

R EAUTHORIZ AT IO N A CT
( SAR A)

In 1986, Congress passed SARA, the


Superfund Amendments and
Reauthorization Act, to strengthen the
governments ability to enforce cleanup of
hazardous sites, since many of the
perpetrators of hazardous waste dumping
were going unpunished.

In 1990, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration


(OSHA) consulted with the Coast Guard, the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to create the HAZWOPER
guidelines as a way to standardize the requirements for dealing
with hazardous waste cleanup or emergency situations.

H AZ W O PER

HAZWOPER is designed to protect against the


dangers that hazardous waste poses.
Hazardous substances that are not disposed of
properly can cause pollution of air, water or
land, or even cause fires or explosions.
Hazardous waste often contains carcinogens
and has been linked to cancers, in addition to
causing birth defects and other adverse health
effects. It can also harm plants and animals,
and have wide-reaching environmental
effects. Thus, its imperative that trained
professionals are kept up to speed on how to
deal with hazardous wastes.

W HY D O W E H AVE
H AZ W O PER G UIDELINE S ?

W HO N EEDS TO
B E H AZ W O PER
C ERTIFIED ?

There are three types of situations where workers


would need to be HAZWOPER certified. They include:
Employees working at sites where the
government has deemed that hazardous waste
or pollutants may have accidentally been
spilled or otherwise released into the
environment. The work performed here could
include drum removal or contaminated soil
removal, for example.
Employees at treatment, storage and disposal
(TSD) facilities dealing with hazardous waste.
This type of work might include preparing
waste for disposal, or handling hazardous
waste at a landfill.

Workers performing emergency response


cleanup where hazardous substances have
been released, or have an imminent threat of
being released, regardless of the location. This
could include trucks or drums carrying
hazardous substances that may have
overturned, or leaking storage tanks.

W HAT K IND OF T RAINING


D O Y OU N EED ?
Depending on your role in the cleanup process, you might
need a 40-hour training or a 24-hour one.

If youre a manager or supervisor of workers who are


engaged in hazardous waste operations, or if you are
a general site worker dealing with hazardous waste
or risking exposure to hazardous material, youll
probably need the 40-hour training.
If, on the other hand, youre only on-site
occasionally, are unlikely to be exposed to high levels
of hazardous materials, or are unlikely to be involved
in an emergency, then the 24-hour training might be
sufficient.
In both cases, youll also need an 8-hour
refresher course every year.

H OW C AN N ATIONAL
E NVIRONME NTA L T RAINERS H ELP ?
In the training, youll learn how to recognize
hazards, handle emergencies, and minimize
exposure, as well as decontamination
procedures and how to use protective
equipment and clothing.
National Environmental Trainers, Inc. offers
the highest quality HAZWOPER training. Our
40-hour training and certification will ensure
you have the tools to comply with OSHA
guidelines.
We offer online training with the only online
hands-on simulator accepted by OSHA. Visit
www.natlenvtrainers.com.