OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

APR 24 1990

William P. Todsen, P.E. Chief, Engineering Division Department of the Army Missouri River Division, Corps of Engineers Post Office Box 103, Downtown Station Omaha, Nebraska 68101-0103

Dear Mr. Todsen:

This is in response to your letter of February 12, concerning the application of training requirements in the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standard (29 CFR 1910.120) to hazardous waste cleanup operations.

Employees are not covered by the standard if they:

1. Work exclusively within uncontaminated areas of the hazardous waste site.

2. Do not enter areas where hazardous waste may exist, are stored or are processed; and

3. Are not exposed to health or safety hazards related to hazardous waste operations.

Consequently, it appears that workers in your example (a), such as clerical or support personnel, or those engaged in construction activities in uncontaminated areas who meet all the conditions described above are not required to be trained under the standard. However if employees' work activities do not meet all of the exclusion criteria described above, employees must be trained for the duration and in the subjects specified in paragraph 1910.120(e).

It is unclear in your example (b) whether the workers remain exclusively within the uncontaminated areas. The requirements stated above can also be used to determine coverage for these employees.

I hope this information is helpful.


Patricia K. Clark Director Designate Directorate of Compliance Programs


February 12, 1990


Environmental HTW Branch

Ms. Patricia Clark, Director Designate Directorate of Compliance Programs U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear Ms Clark:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Missouri River Division, Hazardous and Toxic Waste Design Center, is responsible for the design and oversight of government mandated hazardous waste site cleanup operations (military and Superfund) nationwide. Contractors have posed questions to us regarding the applicability, if any, of training requirements set forth in 29 CFR 1910.120(e) for employees performing duties in locations which appear to be "non-hazardous" at hazardous waste sites. We are seeking interpretation in this regard in order that we may provide proper contract specification and guidance, specifically, as to the degree of formal training required (i.e. 40 hours, 24 hours, or none) in these situations. In general, are employees working exclusively in the Support Zone areas, defined as the uncontaminated areas where workers should not be exposed to hazardous conditions (Reference: Occupational Safety & Health Guidance Manual for Hazardous Waste Site Activities - NIOSH, OSHA, USCG, EPA - October 1985), required to have formal training under 120(e) and, if so, to what extent?

The following examples are provided to illustrate the point in question:

a. There are situations in which an employee's work activity is strictly confined to the Support Zone, defined via prior characterization. Examples of such include: (1) a secretary working in a job-site administration trailer, located within the Support Zone, who is instructed never to enter the Exclusion Zone or Contamination Reduction Zone; (2) employees involved in the construction of a water treatment plant or other site facilities on documented uncontaminated areas of the site.

b. There are instances in which the boundaries of the Exclusion (contaminated) Zone are changing during remediation, such as during the "capping" of a landfill. The area of contamination recedes as soilcover is being hauled in over clean fill and is dumped along the periphery of the Exclusion Zone. Truck drivers hauling the cover material remain technically within the non-contaminated zone and should, therefore, not be exposed to hazardous conditions. Likewise, once the initial cap cover has been installed (i.e. 6 inches to 2 feet of fill), employees installing geotextile membranes/ liners on top of the placed clean cover material are essentially working in non-contaminated areas although still within the boundaries of the "site".

We should point out that employees working on Corps projects receive site-specific emergency preparedness training regardless of work zone assignment. Their lack of exposure, in situations as described, would be documented through periodic air sampling and exposure monitoring at the interface between contaminated site areas (Exclusion Zone and Contamination Reduction Zone) and the uncontaminated Support Zone areas.

Your consideration of this matter is appreciated and we look forward to an interpretation in this regard.



William P. Todsen, P.E. Chief, Engineering Division