image credit: Hans Wretling Matton Collection
Workers dealing with hazardous waste and substances have the right to a safe workplace. The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Standards were issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities among the five types of employees covered by the HAZWOPER Standard. As specified by 1910.120(a)(1)(i-v) and 1926.65(a)(1)(i-v), they are:
- Clean-up operations -- required by a governmental body, whether federal, state, local, or other involving hazardous substances -- that are conducted at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites;
- Corrective actions involving clean-up operations at sites covered by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) as amended (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.);
- Voluntary clean-up operations at sites recognized by federal, state, local, or other governmental body as uncontrolled hazardous waste sites;
- Operations involving hazardous wastes that are conducted at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities regulated by Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 264 and 265 pursuant to RCRA, or by agencies under agreement with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement RCRA regulations; and
- Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances regardless of the location of the hazard.
The HAZWOPER Standards urge employers and employees to prepare for any instances wherein hazardous waste accidents may happen. They include the following:
- OSHA insists for employers to have a written and available safety and health program to identify, evaluate and control safety and health hazards.
- Site evaluation determining potential hazards.
- A site control program in order to protect employees against contamination.
- Employee training at a trusted provider of OSHA 30 hour class online or HAZWOPER training.
- Medical surveillance once a year for employees.
- Employers must also have emergency response plan for workplace emergencies and off-site response coordination.
OSHA requirements may vary per state, it is best to study state regulations in order to avoid any citations. Always promote a safe workplace, take a look at the safety and health hazards the company faces today.