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.

December 4, 1991

Mr. C. K. Shufflebarger
Nassef Engineering and Equipment Company
Post Office Box 1046
Gonzalez, Florida 32560

Dear Mr. Shufflebarger:

This is in response to your inquiry of October 9, 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 certification for employees who work at hazardous waste sites and must take the training course required by 1910.120.

The purpose of 1910.120 is to improve the ability of employees and employers to respond to emergencies caused by releases of hazardous substances. There are several options to meet the training requirements of 1910.120. In addition to the following suggestions you may want to contact OSHA's consultation service (please see enclosed material).

An in-house training program, among other options, may be developed. Please refer to paragraph 1910.120(e)(6), which defines credential requirements for trainers. We encourage you to read through 1910.120(e) carefully with your company in mind to develop a training program that ensures employee's are provided with instruction and will meet the standard's requirements.

OSHA does not certify individuals; it is the employer who must show by documentation or certification that an employee's work experience and/or training meets the requirements of 1910.120. There must be a written document which clearly identifies the employee, the person certifying the employee, and the training and/or past experience which meets the requirements. One possibility would be to include this information in the employee's personnel file. The preferred method is to include this information on a separate certificate for each employee.

OSHA does not currently approve or certify training programs either. 29 CFR 1910.121, a notice of proposed rulemaking, will address certification of 1910.120 training programs. Enclosed is a copy of the proposed rule. You may want to monitor the progress of this new standard and anticipate needed changes in your training and certification programs to insure continued compliance.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact [the Office of Health Enforcement at (202) 693-2190].


Patricia K. Clark, Director
[Directorate of Enforcement Programs]

[Corrected 1/20/2005. On August 15, 2002 the proposed 1910.121 "Accreditation of Training Programs for Hazardous Waste Operations" proposed rule was withdrawn from the Unified Regulatory Agenda (see Federal Register 67:74749-74785 dated December 9, 2002).]