If you work with hazardous materials, then you may be wondering if you need HAZWOPER training. Perhaps you’ve heard about HAZWOPER and are unsure if you need a certificate to perform your duties properly. Maybe you want to ensure you’re following the laws regarding working with hazardous materials. Whatever your reason for looking deeper into HAZWOPER training, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, you’ll find the answer to who needs HAZWOPER training. Upon completion, you will clearly understand whether you or your workers need to obtain a HAZWOPER certificate to legally and safely work in your industry.

Which Workers Commonly Need HAZWOPER Training?

The first step is making sure you understand what HAZWOPER is. HAZWOPER stands for the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard, which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enacted in 1990. Since then, it has been a guide for protecting people who work with hazardous materials in various circumstances. Often, these circumstances can be dangerous and pose a risk to one’s physical wellbeing or life.

Many people need HAZWOPER training, and knowing the types of workers who commonly need HAZWOPER training will help you know if you fall into that category. Workers need to participate in HAZWOPER training if they are:

  • Entering a site with an atmosphere at or above Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) levels.
  • Exposed to conditions involving chemicals that pose an explosion or fire hazard.
  • Working in an area with high poisonous substance concentrations.
  • Exposed to atmospheres with insufficient oxygen levels, meaning the air contains less than 19.5% oxygen.
  • Entering or performing work activities in a confined space.
  • Leading evacuations that are a result of oxygen-deficient conditions or chemical atmospheres.
  • Supervising workers engaging in any of the situations listed above.

Workers can face these situations in many industries and scenarios. Later, we’ll cover some of the specific jobs and work environments that make HAZWOPER training essential.

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Jobs That Require HAZWOPER Training

Some jobs are more dangerous than others. But workers that fit into the above categories on any job will need HAZWOPER training to stay safe and compliant with regulations. These workers can fill many roles, including the following:

  • General laborers across service industries
  • Equipment operators
  • Other types of general job site workers
  • Hazardous materials specialists
  • Hazardous materials technicians
  • Geophysical or geographic surveyors
  • On-site supervisors and management
  • Any supervisory teams or personnel
  • On-scene incident commanders and emergency response workers

The above list is general, as these types of jobs can take many forms. Here are some more specific examples of jobs that require HAZWOPER training:

  • Emergency response operations that involve the release or the threat of release of hazardous substances, regardless of the hazards’ locations
  • Government body-required cleanup operations that involve hazardous substances at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites
  • Cleanup operations or corrective actions at sites covered by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
  • Any activity involving hazardous waste at a treatment, storage and disposal (TSD) facility to which the RCRA applies
  • Operations and activities that lead to the creation of hazardous waste in non-TSD facilities

Work Environments That Require HAZWOPER Training

You’ve seen the types of workers and jobs that require HAZWOPER training. Now it’s time to look at some work environments that fall under the same category. You’ll see some overlap with some of the above information, but this shows that work environment and job duties often go hand in hand. You’ll need HAZWOPER training if you perform duties in any of the following work environments:

  • Underground job sites
  • Sites with contaminated groundwater or soil
  • Subsurface investigations
  • Construction sites where hazardous materials are present
  • Uncontrolled hazardous waste sites listed by an official government agency
  • Corrective action sites covered by the RCRA
  • Any site that has IDLH conditions

Benefits of HAZWOPER Training

HAZWOPER training provides many benefits to those who participate in it. Here are three of the main reasons why you should earn your HAZWOPER certificate if the previous sections apply to you and your job duties:

  • You’ll follow regulations: OSHA requires workers to complete HAZWOPER training if they work in situations with hazardous materials or potentially life-threatening conditions. Workers need special skills and education to be effective in these scenarios. There’s a great responsibility that comes with working with hazardous materials, and OSHA’s regulations ensure workers have the right knowledge to complete these tasks.
  • You’ll be able to work safely: Following regulations is important, but keeping yourself and others safe is even more crucial. Working with hazardous materials and engaging in potentially life-threatening situations is serious. These tasks are dangerous, and you or your employees need to be ready to face them as safely as possible. HAZWOPER training educates you on how to stay safe while engaging in these critical tasks.
  • You can advance your career: Holding a HAZWOPER certificate shows that you’ve spent the time and effort toward achieving greater workplace safety. You’ll attract employers who are looking for workers with their HAZWOPER certificate. And if you’re in the field of workplace safety, then having this certificate can help you land jobs that will improve your career trajectory.

HAZWOPER Training That National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP) Provides

NASP has online safety courses that can help you achieve your HAZWOPER certificate. NASP’s HAZWOPER courses cover many specific situations, including the following:

  • Courses to equip safety trainers with the skills and education they need to train other employees on the job site in proper protocols
  • Courses for overseers and incident commanders who work in fields that require HAZWOPER training
  • Courses that allow you to train others on the various elements of the HAZWOPER standard

With these courses, you can enjoy the benefits of HAZWOPER training. Completing the HAZWOPER training will, in turn, foster a safer work environment for yourself, your co-workers, and the employees who have been entrusted to your supervision.

Buy One of Our HAZWOPER Courses Online

If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, then our online courses are for you. We invite you to browse our course catalog to find the online course that’s right for you. Our online HAZWOPER courses will equip you with the knowledge you need for safety, regulation compliance, and career advancement. Our courses contain all the necessary information to give you a comprehensive experience.

Do you prefer that NASP comes to you and trains your personnel on the HAZWOPER standard? This will often meet various regulatory requirements and ensure that the site-specific elements of the standard are met. An excellent solution for groups of 8 or more.  Click here to get more information and fill out our “On-site Training & Consulting” form. 

Contact us today for more information about how our courses can help you receive your HAZWOPER certificate. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals!

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About the Author


Pete Nemmers

Pete Nemmers serves as NASP’s Director of Training Development, bringing a wealth of expertise to the organization. With a background rooted in safety and training, Pete plays a pivotal role in shaping the training programs offered by NASP. Pete ensures that NASP remains at the forefront of safety education, equipping professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate and excel in the dynamic field of safety.
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