HAZWOPER stands for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response; it comes under the authority of OSHA. HAZWOPER provides a clear guideline for employees and employers of any hazardous waste site, and its training is cover under OSHA standard 1910.120. HAZWOPER offers safe working regulations for any waste site, and the workers follow the set of rules for proper handling, storing, transporting, cleaning, disposing, and other responsibilities for waste materials.

The Environmental Protection Agency Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 laid the foundation for HAZWOPER regulations and training. With the joint struggle of OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency, new guidelines form in the year 1984. HAZWOPER rules and regulations have continued to update over the years according to changes in technology and information.


Any form of waste material (liquid, gas, and solid) can be dangerous, and these substances are hazardous for humans and the environment. This waste can come from many different sources, and it can be a waste of laboratories, trash disposal sites, mining sites, mineral and agricultural sites, and more.


HAZWOPER standards are applied to five different groups of employees and employers. Among these employees are those who are exposed or have the possibility of exposure to hazardous materials. Workers involved in dealing, storing, or disposing of dangerous materials and emergency operational services employees. And also, any worker must perform duty at any waste material site. Workers who come under the HAZWOPER standard are supposed to be trained and protected. OSHA sets five standards which are defined below:

  • Cleanup operations are required by a governmental body, whether federal, state, local, or other involving hazardous substances. That was conducted at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
  • Corrective actions involving cleaning operations at sites come under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA).
  • Voluntary Cleanup operations at sites are recognized by federal, state, local, or other governmental bodies as uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
  • Operations involving hazardous wastes conducted at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities regulated by Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 264 and 265 under RCRA. Or by agencies under agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement RCRA regulations. 

For easy understanding, any place or work comes under OSHA HAZWOPER requirements. It has toxic material with a high concentration or Imminent Danger to Life and Health (IDLH) or creates a situation that requires an evacuation of the area.




OSHA provided two types of training courses for hazardous the first is the 40-hour HAZWOPER training course, second is the 8-hour HAZWOPER training course, and the 24-hours HAZWOPER training course. An employee, who is getting the HAZWOPER training for the first time, needs to do a 40-hours training course. When a person did a 40-hours training course, he only needs to refresh his training course by attempting 8-hours courses every year. The 24-hour courses are only applicable for those who work part-time or have to respond to emergency cases.

 These training courses are designed and recommended by OSHA and are certified courses. The HAZWOPER training courses certification is valid for only one year, and each certificate is different according to the job requirement. As with other OSHA training courses, HAZWOPER courses are available online, and employees or employers can take the training according to their own time. These online courses are interactive and fully narrated, and every student will know how to comply with hazard management and hazardous waste regulations under OSHA standards.

Online training may meet some refresher training requirements, provided that it covers topics relevant to worker-assigned duties. However, it must be supplemented by the opportunity to ask questions of a qualified trainer and by assessing the hands-on performance of work tasks, as OSHA stated.



One must understand that HAZWOPER training is only for some workers. This training is only for those workers who have to deal with materials and chemicals that can be uncontrollable if treated wrongly. That is why the keyword for HAZWOPER is uncontrolled.

Any site or area can be announced as a hazardous site and a threat to the health and safety of individuals or the environment by a government, and not necessarily at which level of government (federal, state, or local) identifies this. Now, those who need the HAZWOPER training include workers who work in areas where oxygen is scarce and employees who work as cleaning operators in hazardous waste sites. An employee who does the maintenance or removal of underground infrastructure, like pipes or tanks. Employees handle combustible waste, work in an area the government acknowledged as Imminent Danger to Life and Health (IDLH), and more.


HAZWOPER is designed to reduce the risks of chemical exposure to workers employed in one of three specific activities:

  • Uncontrolled hazardous waste site operators

Uncontrolled waste site operators must enter a site of chemical contamination to perform cleaning and remediation duties. Often, the chemical contaminant identity and concentration will be unknown initially.

  • Treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF) personnel

TSDF personnel are workers employed at a controlled waste facility who will receive waste from uncontrolled sites for treatment.

  • Emergency responders

Emergency responders are subject to different training requirements from waste site operators and TSDF personnel, as they must respond quickly to stabilize an emergency. Once a chemical situation stabilizes, post-response operations are covered, and following stabilization, this is now an uncontrolled waste site.

  • Safety Managers



Safety trainers and worksite managers of environmental cleanup sites must have at least 40 hours of safety training, per OSHA requirements. Plus, they need to go through three days of field training. Each year, safety trainers and safety managers also need to attempt eight hours to refresh their HAZWOPER certificate and keep it active.

This course prepares them to become supervisors for experiential training and conduct the classroom portion of HAZWOPER teaching. As with other forms of HAZWOPER training, safety managers who take the Train the Trainer course will also need to supplement it with experiential hours outside the classroom and in the field. These hours ensure that trainers know how to use PPE accurately, identify issues and handle hazardous waste while guiding others to do the same.