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Hazardous Waste

This page provides a comprehensive guide to information regarding hazardous waste operations. It briefly covers emergency response for hazardous waste sites. For additional information, see OSHA's Emergency Preparedness and Response Safety and Health Topics Page.

Hazardous waste is addressed in specific standards for the general and construction industries.


This section highlights OSHA standards, preambles to final rules (background to final rules), Federal Registers (rules, proposed rules, and notices), directives (instructions for compliance officers), model training programs, and other federal and national consensus standards related to hazardous waste.


Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.

General Industry (29 CFR 1910)

Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)

  • 1926 Subpart D, Occupational health and environmental controls
    • 1926.65, Hazardous waste operations and emergency response
      • Appendix A, Personal protective equipment test methods
      • Appendix B, General description and discussion of the levels of protection and protective gear
      • Appendix C, Compliance guidelines
      • Appendix D, References
      • Appendix E, Training curriculum guidelines (Non-mandatory)

Preambles to Final Rules

Federal Registers


Model Training Programs

Other Federal

Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

National Consensus

Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)

  • D6235 - 04, Standard Practice for Expedited Site Characterization of Vadose Zone and Ground Water Contamination at Hazardous Waste Contaminated Sites.

  • D6498 - 99(2007), Standard Guide for Household Hazardous Waste Training Outline for Household Hazardous Waste Collection Operations. (2007).

Hazard Recognition

The types of hazards most frequently identified for hazardous waste sites are similar to those that exist on construction sites and include: electrical, excavations, walking/working surfaces, lockout/tag out, cranes and other material handling equipment, hand and portable powered tools, and welding and cutting. The following references aid in recognizing hazards at a waste site.

  • Remediation Technology and Health Safety Standards: Thermal Desorption. OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB), (2003, February 3). Provides employers assistance with recognizing hazards associated with thermal desorption and controlling them in a manner consistent with OSHA requirements and other industry standards.

  • Chemical Reactivity Hazards. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.

  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2005-149, (2007, September). Provides a source of general industrial hygiene information on several hundred chemicals/classes for workers, employers, and occupational health professionals.

  • ToxFAQs™. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Provides a series of summaries about hazardous substances developed by the ATSDR Division of Toxicology. Answers are provided to the most frequently asked questions about exposure to hazardous substances found around hazardous waste sites.

  • Medical Management Guidelines (MMGs). Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Aids emergency department physicians and other emergency healthcare professionals who manage acute exposures resulting from chemical incidents.

  • Safety and Health Aspects of EM CX Remediation Technologies. US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Publication No. EM 1110-1-4007, (2003, August 15). This engineering manual contains detailed hazard analyses for 25commonly used EM CX site remediation technologies and is written forUSACE project designers, Architect-Engineers (A-Es) and safety and health professionals. The document serves as a resource in identifying potential hazards unique and/or significant to the technologies addressed along with recommended controls.


The following references aid in evaluating hazards at a waste site.

Control and Prevention

OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Superfund Audits

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER). Provides policy, guidance, and direction for the EPA's solid waste and emergency response programs.

  • Superfund: Cleaning up the Nation's Hazardous Wastes Sites. Cleans up abandoned, accidentally spilled, or illegally dumped hazardous waste that poses a current or future threat to human health or the environment.

  • Contaminated Site Clean-up Information (CLU-IN). Technology Innovation Office (TIO). Advocates more effective, less costly approaches (i.e. "smarter solutions") by government and industry to assess and clean up contaminated waste sites, soil, and groundwater.

  • Cleanup: Technology & Tools. Uses the best available science to develop risk assessment tools and guidance for cleaning up sites that are contaminated with radioactive materials.

  • Sector Notebooks. Contains a national industrial process description, a waste release profile, a discussion of pollution prevention opportunities, a summary of statutes and regulations, a compliance and enforcement profile, a list of compliance activities, and a contact directory.

  • Multi-Agency Radiation Surveys and Site Manual (MARSSIM). Provides detailed guidance for planning, implementing, and evaluating environmental and facility radiological surveys conducted to demonstrate compliance with a dose- or risk-based regulation.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

US Department of Energy (DOE)

Chemical Management Archives

  • Management Perspectives on Worker Protection During DOE Hazardous Waste Activities. (1996, June). Provides a written for the project manager, who has overall responsibility for directing hazardous waste activities and ensuring that these activities protect the worker, the public, and the environment.

  • Working Safely During DOE Hazardous Waste Activities. (1996, June). Improves worker protection by indicating ways to minimize radiological, physical, chemical, and biological hazards and to reinforce the health, safety, and radiological training completed by hazardous waste workers.

US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

  • Technical Guidelines for Hazardous & Toxic Waste Treatment and Cleanup Activities. Publication No. EM 1110-1-502, (1994, April 30). This manual provides design guidelines that will aide U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Districts and Divisions in the selection of remedial actions at uncontrolled hazards waste sites.

  • Removal of Underground Storage Tanks (USTS). US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Publication No. EM 1110-1-4006, (1998, September 30). This manual addresses tanks subject to Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle I underground storage tanks requirements. The manual provides practical guidance for removal of UST's. The manual addresses site evaluation, monitoring, testing, removal, safety and health issues, and site restoration.

Additional Information

Related Safety and Health Topics Pages


Other Resources

  • US Department of Energy (DOE)
  • Safety and Health Requirements Manual. US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), (2003, November 3). Provides a section on hazardous waste site requirements that is of special interest.
    • Section 28: Hazardous Waste Operation and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER)
  • Hazardous Materials: A Safety Information Guide [244 KB PDF, 2 pages]. American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE), Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE), (2006, September). Provides the public with key information on what hazmats are, the hazmat laws and who to contact should an emergency occur, and much more.

  • EXTOXNET - The EXTension TOXicology NETwork. The University of California-Davis, Oregon State University, Michigan State University, Cornell University, and the University of Idaho. Provides information more widely available via Pesticide Information Profiles, Toxicology Information Briefs, and Fact Sheets.

Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF and PPT materials.

*These files are provided for downloading.