Importance of Learning Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response



In the general industry involving hazardous waste, OSHA has set its standards for its operations and emergency response to undergo forty hours of initial training for uncontrolled waste operations plus three days for regular employees to experience actual field. For occasional visiting employees, the training requirement involves at least twenty-four hours completed training and one day of supervised experience in the field, whereas for supervisors and managers, eight hours is needed for additional management training, and then eight hours of yearly hazardous materials training.


Hazardous waste operations and emergency response are covering all employees who are involved in uncontrolled hazardous waste clean-up operations either voluntarily, directed or corrective actions that involve clean-up procedures either by local, state, Federal and other governments. It also covers employees involved in the operation of hazardous waste at storage, disposal and treatment facilities licensed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). For each training, as per OSHA, the employee will have a specific title or level such as a first responder at the “awareness level”, a first responder at the “operations level”, hazardous material technician, hazardous materials specialist, and on-scene incident commander. The discoverer or witness is the first responder at the “awareness level”, who initiates the emergency response should possess the core competencies to recognize the presence of hazardous waste materials in an emergency, including the risks involved, and the role they play in their company’s plan. A first responder at the “operations level” should have completed eight hours confined space training in addition to the competency in the “awareness level”, and the employee must be able to respond in order to prevent the spread, exposure and further release of hazardous waste materials. A hazardous waste material technician responds in order to completely stop the release of the hazardous material through decontamination and carrying out the company’s contingency plan.


A hazardous materials specialist requires detailed and specific knowledge on various types of substances that must be contained, acting a liaison with all types of government authorities. The level that assumes full control of the scene is known as the on-scene incident commander, demonstrating competence in the implementation of incident command system, the company’s plan as well as local and state emergency response plans. For all types of training, an annual refresher is required. For more information about OSHA and RCRA training in California and surrounding areas, feel free to check our website or contact us directly. Read more about osha training at


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