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Hazardous Materials Response Team Training Requirements

Posted on Mon, Jan 30, 2012

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:

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.

Click the image below for a free Response Procedures Flow Chart:

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Tags: HAZCOM, PHMSA, OSHA HAZWOPER, Training and Exercises, Emergency Management Program, Disaster Recovery, HAZWOPER, OSHA HAZWOPER standard training, Fire Department HAZWOPER training

OSHA's HAZWOPER standard training... Who needs it?

Posted on Thu, Jun 10, 2010

The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard -Online Training applies to specific groups of employers and their employees. Employees who are exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances, including hazardous waste, are required to obtain HAZWOPER training. 

OHSA mandates that those who work in the following areas must complete the standard HAZWOPER training.

  • General site workers (such as equipment operators, general laborers and supervisory personnel) engaged in hazardous substance removal or other activities, which expose or potentially expose workers to hazardous substances and health.
  • Operations crews involved in hazardous wastes that are conducted at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities regulated by 40 CFR Parts 264 and 265 pursuant to RCRA; or by agencies under agreement with U.S.E.P.A. to implement RCRA regulations.
  • Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances regardless of the location of the hazard.Training levels

Courses should be selected based upon the type of work and the potential hazard involved in the work. 

  • Those individuals directly involved in the cleaning up of hazardous materials, its storage, or its transportation should take the 40-hour HAZWOPER course. The 40 hour course is required for the safety of workers at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
  • Other, shorter courses such as the 24-hour HAZWOPER training may be appropriate for those who are less directly involved with uncontrolled hazardous waste sites (such as, but not limited to, ground water monitoring, land surveying, or geophysical surveying). .
  • Managers are required to attain the same level of training as those they supervise, and an additional 8 hours.

There are numerous sources for OSHA-based HAZWOPER training, from community colleges to private consultants.  However, companies must insure that the trainer teaches the required material and provides certification to the student. The certification is assigned to the employee, not the employer.  Because of this, individuals must receive the full training mandated, not just those areas that are covered at the current work site.


For more tips and best practices on HAZWOPER Training, download our HAZWOPER training guide



Tags: OSHA HAZWOPER, HAZWOPER, OSHA HAZWOPER standard training, Fire Department HAZWOPER training