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.

August 15, 1991

Ms. Cynthia Sundquist
Manager, Health and Safety
ABB Environmental Services, Inc.
ASEA Brown Boveri
Post Office Box 7050
Portland, Maine 04112

Dear Ms. Sundquist:

Thank you for your letter of July 18, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response final rule (29 CFR 1910.120).

Your specific question relates to training certification of current employees with previous experience and training in the removal of underground storage tanks (USTs).

If your subcontractors meet the requirements of paragraph (e)(9) for certifying an employee as equivalently trained they will not be required to complete the initial 40 hour training. This paragraph is written to allow organizations to certify current employees as equivalently trained if the employee's work experience and/or training has resulted in training equivalent to that training required in paragraph (e)(1) through (e)(4). The employee must have had sufficient training and/or experience to perform their expected duties safely.

Your subcontractors currently have specific skills for the removal of USTs. If you certify them under (e)(9) they may be able to perform removals of underground storage tanks. However, they will need further training if you require them to perform any other hazardous waste operation.

All employees certified as equivalently trained and new to a site must also receive appropriate site specific training before site entry and have appropriate supervised field experience at the new site. These employees would be required to have 8 hours of refresher training per year.

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


Gerard F. Scannell
Assistant Secretary

July 18, 1991

Mr. G.F. Scannell, Assistant Secretary, OSHA
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20210

Dear Assistant Secretary Scannell:

ABB Environmental Services Inc. (ABB-ES) would like to request a clarification regarding the applicability of OSHA 29 CFR 1910.120, the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard, to projects involved in the removal of underground storage tanks, specifically in regards to the training.

We have previously received a response from you stating that in general, when the removal of the tank involves contamination, the work is covered by the above standard. ABB-ES does not do the actual tank removal work, we hire subcontractors who we require to comply with the standard. Our question to you is in relation to equivalent training (1910.120(e)(9)). If a subcontractor has a large amount of experience in conducting tank removals (only), can they be grandfathered for the initial, 40-hour training if they meet the qualifications of the section in regards to tank work only?

An expeditious response would be greatly appreciated. If you or your people have questions or require further delineation of the issue, please feel free to contact me in Portland, Maine at (207) 775-7401.

Thank you,


Cynthia Sundquist, CSP, CIH Manager, Health and Safety