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Getting Your Annual HAZWOPER Refresher

What is the HAZWOPER refresher?

In 1989, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued its Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard, Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations Part 1910.120 (or OSHA 29 CFR 1910.120). This standard mandated that workers have the right to protection from hazardous waste operations. HAZWOPER required that workers receive either a 24-hour or 40-hour training in accordance with their work functions. Covered employees include:

-Employees at hazardous waste cleanup sites

-Employees at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities

-Emergency response staff.

The HAZWOPER refresher is an 8-hour training that is required for individuals on a periodic basis.

How often do I need a refresher?

The refresher course is required annually (every 12 months) for all employees (including contractors and subcontractor) who perform hazardous waste operations. In order to take the refresher, workers must first have completed the 24-Hour or 40-Hour HAZWOPER course.

Why do I need HAZWOPER refresher training?

Initial training is meant to protect workers by making them aware of the hazards they might encounter at work. With adequate knowledge and skills, workers can reduce the risk of harm in an emergency.

The refresher training requirement is meant to keep workers up-to-date on laws, technology, and best practices. Furthermore, as workers gain experience with hazardous materials, they often learn there are gaps in knowledge. The refresher can help to close those gaps.

What is covered in the HAZWOPER refresher?

Your HAZWOPER refresher should consist of AT LEAST 8 hours of training that meets the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.120. The following topics would meet or exceed those requirements:

-You should review how you use HAZWOPER training in your work experiences.

-You should be updated on any requirements that might have been added to the 40-hour course.

-You should review changes in laws or standards from OSHA or EPA.

-You should be introduced to new subject areas (if that applies to your job).

-You should be able to learn and demonstrate competent use of new or different equipment. This would include new personal protection equipment, respiratory protection, monitoring, or decontamination equipment.

Does the refresher cover updates in shipping and storage requirements?

The Hazard Communication Standard or HAZCOM is a vital part of HAZWOPER. This is a great example of the necessity of Refresher training. OSHA’s alignment with the Global Harmonized Systems of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals GHS) have made changes to many of the labeling requirements for shipping and storage containers. Refresher training should outline current hazard classification, labels, safety data sheets (SDS), and pertinent information and training. Your refresher training can ensure that your knowledge and your work site are up-to-date.

Can the refresher be a CBT?

The HAZWOPER refresher can be partially conducted by computer-based training. However, it is required that employees be granted the opportunity to ask questions of a qualified instructor or expert. Also, if the employee’s job function requires it, trainees must have the opportunity to demonstrate the proper hands-on use of PPE, monitors, Emergency Response Guidebook, or anything else that would actually be required of that employee.

Can the refresher be completed in segments?

The HAZWOPER refresher can be taught in segments as long as you have completed the final segment before the one-year anniversary of the last training. For example, if you were to take a nine-section online training, you could essentially cover one section every for to five weeks throughout the year. This way, information’s always fresh!

Who can teach HAZWOPER refresher

OSHA does not have a certification for HAZWOPER trainers, but the regulation states that “trainers shall be qualified to instruct employees about the subject matter that is being presented in training”. The qualification can come from work experience, training, or academic degrees.

There’s no room for guesswork when hazardous waste cleanup operations are concerned. To prevent workplace accidents and injuries, OSHA established training guidelines on Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response. For starters, employers are mandated to provide employees with initial safety training before working on hazardous waste sites. The required training programs will depend on related tasks, operations, and potential exposure to hazardous wastes and substances.

Do you know if you must take a 24-hour HAZWOPER training40-hour HAZWOPER training or an 8-hour annual HAZOPER refresher course? Don’t worry! has it all! It’s online, self-paced, and ready when you are!

Originally published at by Matt Luman, September 28, 2017

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