Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

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

August 19, 1991

Mr. Al Carino
165A Old Forge Road
Jamesburg, New Jersey 08831

Dear Mr. Carino:

This is in response to your inquiry of May 20, to Mr. Thomas Hall concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response final rule (29 CFR 1910.120).

Your specific question reads "how can I apply this training [a comprehensive formal apprenticeship program] toward the current certification requirements necessary for hazard[ous] waste operations?"

Paragraph (e)(9) of 1910.120 discusses "equivalent training" and states;

(9) Equivalent training. Employees who can show by documentation or certification that an employee's work experience and/or training has resulted in training equivalent to that training required in paragraphs (e)(1) through (e)(4) of this section shall not be required to provide the initial training requirements of those paragraphs to such employees. However, certified employees new to a site shall receive appropriate, site specific training before site entry and have appropriate supervised field experience at the new site.

Therefore, your employer may decide, based on the course content, that your apprenticeship meets the requirements of the off site initial training. Your letter covered some of the topics in your apprenticeship, which your employer must compare to training program requirements. The training must adequately prepare an employee to perform his duties in a safe and healthful manner.

If your employer intends to certify you fully or partially as "equivalently trained," he should retain a copy of your training certificate and the comparison of training requirements in your personnel file. Before you can be certified as equivalently trained you must have the required hours of on the job supervised training. Additionally, the employer is required to supply the employee with 8 hours of refresher training per year.

Generally, if there has been a lapse of three years without refresher training since the initial training, the initial training should be repeated. Therefore, if you have received no additional training specific to hazardous waste operations since the end of your apprenticeship in 1977, it may be necessary for you to attend the initial 40 hour training course.

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


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs