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.

November 26, 1990

Mike Amen, CIH
Riedel Environmental Technologies, Inc.
4611 N. Channel Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97217

Dear Mr. Amen:

This is in response to your letter concerning the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (29 CFR 1910.120). Please accept our apology for the delay in this reply.

Your first question is where at the site (e.g., support zone, contamination reduction zone, exclusion zone) does the scope of 29 CFR 1910.120 begin to apply. The scope of the standard potentially applies to the entire geographic area of the site designated for clean up. Once areas are characterized, however, 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 or potentially exposed to health or safety hazards related to hazardous waste operations.

Your other question concerns the training requirements for personnel whose duties are limited strictly to the support zone. The training requirements under 29 CFR 1910.120(e) are not applicable for employees who meet the criteria set forth in the answer to the first question. Training requirements of other standards such as 29 CFR 1910.1200 would be applicable.

I hope this information is helpful.


Patricia K. Clark Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs

TO:    Pat Clark
      Director of Health/Safety
      Compliance OSHA
      Room N 3463
      U.S. Department of Labor
      Washington, D.C.  26210

FROM:  Mike Amen, CIH

DATE:  21 September 1990

SUBJECT:  Interpretation, 29 CFR 1910.120, Support Zone Training

I am sending this letter of inquiry to you in the hopes of soliciting your help in resolving an issue which continues to confound and confuse us at the various Superfund/EPA cleanup sites we are contracted to cleanup.

The question revolves around:

1. Where does the scope of the 29 CFR 1910.120 begin to apply?

a. at the entrance to the Contamination Reduction Zone/Exclusion Zone?

b. at the entrance to the Support Zone ie the instant that you step on the 'site'?

2. What training, if any, is required for personnel, such as Security Guards, whose duties are limited strictly to the Support Zone.

Within my capacity as Corporate Director of Health/Safety, my unsanctioned and unofficial interpretation has been that the Support Zone is, by definition, clean with no potential for exposure. This would seem to justify the rationale of bringing news media, delivery contractors and inspectors into this area without all the training and physical exam requirements.

It would seem to reason that Security Guards, or for that matter, any support personnel whose duties are limited to the Support Zone with no possibility of entry into the exclusion zone or subsequent potential exposure, would be exempt from the 24 or 40 hour training requirements. I spoke with Mike Moore on 20 September by telephone. He stated that the burden of proof is on OSHA to prove exposure but the issue of group exemption is one of interpretation which places the ball in your court.

Please address my questions via a letter of interpretation. I, in turn, will see that it is transmitted out to all our offices and regions. I appreciate any timely response as the problem is ongoing and continuous.

Do not hesitate to call me for any specific details or circumstances. My phone number is 800-334-0004.

cc: Bill Cox Dick Heymann Margaret Wichard