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 http://www.osha.gov.

June 4, 1991

Mr. David W. McDaniel
Vice President
COR Group, Inc.
6865 Cascade Road SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546

Dear Mr. McDaniel:

This is in response to your inquiry of April 23, 1991 concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response final rule (29 CFR 1910.120).

You had three specific questions which are addressed below.

First, you asked;

1) To what degree must the HAZWOPER training for emergency response within industry be site specific. If an employer has an employee attend a generic course what actions or additional training must be provided and if this step is not taken what will OSHA compliance do in the event of an inspection?

Required training under section (q) of HAZWOPER for emergency response may be general in part but must include some site specific elements. This is required in the first sentence of paragraph (q) section (6) which reads;

"Training. Training shall be based on the duties and functions to be performed by each responder of an emergency response organization."

For emergency response teams at an industrial facility this necessarily includes site specific elements. That is to say that the "duties and functions" are a function of site specific parameters. For example, the emergency responders must be trained in the employers emergency response plan. However, more elements can be covered in a general training. For example, personal protective equipment (PPE), knowledge and terminology of basic hazard assessment and general confinement procedures.

Thus, there are two components to the required training; general health and safety background and on site specific safety and health information. The former component, may be covered by the "generic" training courses you described.

For emergency responders, the site specific training required increases with the level of training. You will note that the hazardous materials technician level of training requires that the employee "know how to implement the employer's emergency response plan". The hazardous materials specialist duties "require a more directed or specific knowledge of the various substances they may be called upon to contain".

OSHA field compliance officers have two options for citing an employer that did not include sufficient site specific training in the training required under paragraph (q) of the final rule. They may use either citation depending on what seems most appropriate to them from their observations in the field, or they may write their own citation. The exact language is contained in OSHA's Standard Alleged Violations Elements (SAVEs) Manual. The options read as follows;

"Option 1 29 CFR 1910.120(q)(6): Training was not based on the duties and function to be performed by each responder of an emergency response organization:"

"Option 2 29 CFR 1910.120(q)(6): The skill and knowledge levels required for all new responders, those hired after the effective date of this standard, were not conveyed to them through training before they were permitted to take part in an actual emergency operations on an incident:"

Your second question reads as follows;

2) If an employee is trained on examples of PPE and not on the specific equipment used by the employee (i.e. type of chemical protection suit) will OSHA compliance conclude that the training provided was inadequate?

If an employee is trained on a representative sample of personal protective equipment, OSHA will consider the employee adequately trained for use of other brands of the same level of personal protective equipment. However, OSHA encourages all employers to familiarize employees with the specific PPE they will be expected to use. Additionally, training programs should include an array of brands of personal protective equipment used for demonstration purposes.

Your third question read as follows;

3) During inspections will OSHA compliance inspect or review the emergency equipment available to employees? If a deficiency is found, under what standard will the violation be cited and will the corresponding training be determined as improper?

Review of PPE and equipment available to employees for use during emergencies is an important part of OSHA's evaluation of emergency response procedures. If a deficiency is found there are several citation options such as 1910.120(q)(1), 1910.120(q)(2)(xi), 1910.120(q)(10) and 1910.134.

The corresponding training would not necessarily be determined as improper. The absence of specific emergency response equipment does not necessarily imply a lack of training in its use. If the OSHA Compliance Officer determined that the training was lacking in regards to that specific piece of emergency equipment, the employer could then be cited under paragraph (q) subparagraph (6).

I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact MaryAnn Garrahan at (202) 523-8036.

Sincerely,



Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs




April 23, 1991

Ms. Patricia Clark, Director
OSHA - OFFICE of COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS
200 Constitution Ave, NW - Rm N-3469
Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear Ms. Clark,

I am requesting a written interpretation of section(s) of the OSHA HAZWOPER (29 CFR 1910.120) standard. Concern for employers that participate in "generic" HAZWOPER training is increasing due to the various interpretations of the training requirements specified within paragraph (q)(6) of this standard.

No where in the standard does OSHA stipulate that training must be site specific. The intent of the standard and prudent practices suggest site specific training; however, the letter of the regulation is vague. Certain uninformed or cost conscious employers are reading this as a "loop hole" that allows them to take the easy way out (i.e., employees attending a program that is not customized to their operation - EPA sponsored Fire Fighter training, Community College courses...). I am requesting compliance clarification for the following questions. Your responses may be quoted within my monthly newsletters and magazine articles.

1) To what degree must the HAZWOPER training for emergency response within industry be site specific. If an employer has employees attend a generic course what actions or additional training must be provided and if this step is not taken what will OSHA compliance do in the event of inspection?

2) If the employer is trained on examples of PPE and not on the specific equipment used by the employee (i.e., type of chemical protection suit) will OSHA compliance conclude that the training provided was inadequate?

3) During inspections will OSHA compliance inspect or review the emergency equipment available to employees? If a deficiency is found, under what standard will the violation be cited and will the corresponding training be determined as improper?

I have enclosed a self addressed envelope for your convenience and in the hope to quicken your reply.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,



David W. McDaniel
Vice President