A Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Response team is comprised of hazardous material experts who specialize in detecting, containing, and removing any release or potential release of hazardous substances in order to control or stabilize an incident. According to the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER), a HAZMAT team “is not a fire brigade, nor is a typical fire brigade termed a HAZMAT team. However, a HAZMAT team is often a separate component of a fire brigade or fire department.”
The acronym HAZMAT refers to any substance (gas, liquid or solid) capable of creating harm to people, the environment, or property. It is often used when discussing the production, transport, use, disposal, cleanup, or emergency response of hazardous materials.
HAZWOPER is one of the training components of a HAZMAT team. The intent of the HAZWOPER standard is to protect workers engaged in "Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances without regard to the location of the hazard." (29 CFR 1910.120(a)(1)(v)).
According to the HAZMAT Team Planning Guide of the EPA’s Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation, a HAZMAT Team should be trained to the “Hazardous Materials Technician” level defined by NFPA Standard 472 and HAZWOPER 29 CFR 1910.120.
HAZMAT Training Regulations
HAZMAT employees, that may or may not be part of a HAZMAT team, must be trained, at a minimum, in accordance with:
- OSHA, 29 CFR 1910.120(a)(1)(v) Hazardous waste operations and emergency response.
- OSHA Initial training should include Hazard Communication, 29 CFR 1910.1200 requirements (training is part of “Hazard Communication” training or ½ day stand alone)
- PHMSA, 49 CFR §172, Sub part H, Training
- PHMSA, §172.602, Emergency response information
Records need to be maintained for all employees that have been, or will be trained before handling hazardous materials, in accordance with the training requirements set forth in 49 CFR §172.704 and 172.602, and 29 CFR §1910.120 and 1910.1200.
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