Want A New Career In Hazardous Waste Cleanup? A Guide To The Hazwoper Training You Will Need

HAZWOPER training is needed by anyone who will be handling hazardous waste while working or contracting with a government agency. This training ensures that anyone working with hazardous waste knows how to keep themselves safe while doing it and also doesn't handle it in any way that will put the health of the general public at risk. There are several levels of training that range in length and curriculum. If you are considering applying for a job as part of a hazardous waste site cleanup crew, then you may wonder what level of training you will likely need and what the course involves. Read on to get an idea of what type of training you are looking at for the job you are considering. 

HAZWOPER Training Levels Explained

It may sound strange at first that there are different levels of HAZWOPER training, but it makes sense when you think of the fact that some jobs require hands-on work with hazardous waste 40 hours per week, while others involve only occasional handling of waste or just being in an environment with the waste but not having hands-on contact yourself. In general, the more often you will be working with the waste during your day-to-day job and the higher your level of contact with the waste, the more extensive HAZWOPER training you will need. 

HAZWOPER training levels for hazardous waste site cleanup crews are as follows:

Hands-on General Site Worker: General site worker HAZWOPER training consists of 40 hours of classroom or online training along with 24 hours of field work. If you will be working on a site that has hazardous fumes or debris that require you to wear a respirator and/or there is the chance of a site emergency, then you will require this training. 

Manager/Supervisor of Hands-on Workers: Manager/supervisor training consists of 48 hours of classroom or online training and 24 hours of field work. If you will be the supervisor of a hazardous waste site where respirators are worn and/or site emergencies may occur, then this is the training you will need. 

Workers with Minimal Safety Risk: Training for workers who will be working a distance from the main hazardous waste and will have no contact with it need 24 hours of training and 8 hours field work. This level of training typically is only required for oil-spill clean-up workers who will be working far from the actual spill, such as on a beach. 

Supervisors of Workers at Minimal Risk: If you will be supervising workers who will not be working with the hazardous waste itself and you also have little contact with the waste or fumes, then you will need 24 hours of training and 8 hours of field work. 

While these are general guidelines given by OSHA, you may need more or less training depending on the exact circumstances you will be working in. Also, if you have some past experience and/or training working with hazardous waste, your required training hours may be adjusted to compensate for knowledge and experience you already have. No matter what your position or initial training required, you will need to take a short annual refresher course to learn any new safety techniques that have been developed and simply refresh your safe-handling knowledge.

What You Will Learn During HAZWOPER Training

During training for a site worker position, you will learn what you need to know to perform your job safely, including how to wear your safety gear properly and how to recognize labels that are placed on containers with hazardous substances in them. You will also learn why the substances you are working with are hazardous to your health and the health of other workers, so you understand just what would happen if you were to neglect safety precautions. 

Training for supervisor positions include similar curriculum to worker training, but there is an added focus on ensuring that site workers are following safety guidelines and how to respond if they are not. Supervisor training also includes what instructions to give during a site emergency to ensure no one suffers injury. 

HAZWOPER training is very important if you are considering a job in hazardous waste cleanup, as it helps you protect your health and the health of others while handling substances that could potentially harm you or make you ill with exposure. Your new employer will instruct you on how much HAZWOPER training you will need, as the above are guidelines that can vary depending on any past experience you may have handling hazardous waste and what dangers the job you will be working entail.